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Software purchase question

Task: Software purchase question

Assigned To: 
Meghan Koven
Due Date: 
Friday, Sep 14

Non-profits can get free MS licensing/software from They require a sort of registration with an EIN. Is this something that we can do being a project of School Factory?

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Assigned: Willow Brugh » James Carlson

Yes, the school factory is already a member of Techsoup.  Let us know what you want we can probably order it for you.


Project: Denhac » NOVA Labs
Assigned: James Carlson » Unassigned

Have you already considered how to handle the request cycle?  Meaning, for example, everyone is probably going to want to get cheap Microsoft licenses, but you can only make a request through techsoup for Microsoft products once every two years..


Assigned To: »James Carlson
Type: Request»Problem
Due Date: »Friday, May 25

I think we need to reach out to Techsoup and explain what we're doing. Perhaps we can partner with them on a different level. Because you are right; they don't let us use some of the benefits more than once per time-period, depending on the catalog product. 

Here's what I propose:

Add the products you want to the Space Federation Tech Soup Shopping List

Update this task when done, and pass it on--we'll get a good list and then ask them all at once. 


Assigned To: James Carlson»Meghan Koven
Due Date: Friday, May 25»Friday, Jun 15

Bumping. If you want stuff, put it on the list. We'll work on buying stuff in mid-June. Meghan I'm notifying you on this because it'll become a new task for you to manage once we get more spaces working with TechSoup in the Federation.


I haven't heard anything from anyone about this so far, but the task is assigned to me...Can someone please provide me with next steps that I should take?


Due Date: Friday, Jun 15»Friday, Jul 20

You worked with TechSoup before, right? We'd like to work with them on more of a partnership level. Maybe we can arrange a call with someone at TechSoup to talk about:

  1. If/How our fiscally sponsored projects can use TechSoup benefits directly
  2. If/how we can register the spaces with TechSoup in one gulp
  3. If / how we can get a benefit typically offered only once to a NPO to be offered to _each_ project


So I was finally able to connect with Ricci at Techsoup last night, and here's what she shared with me:

The bad news:

  1. Techsoup is an intermediary between approximately 50 technology donors and all of the nonprofit entities that want to take advantage of technology donations.
    1. They have to follow donor rules & regulations and have very little power to influence anyone
  2. Currently, donors restrict their technology donations to 501(c)3 organizations. They do not recognize fiscally sponsored entities.
    1. Space Federation members cannot apply or receive donations from Techsoup unless they have their own 501(c)3 designation.
  3. Techsoup recognizes the limitations these requirements put on an organization like ours. They are working on putting together a proposal to take to their donors to convince them of the value of including fiscal sponsors and their sponsored entities.
    1. Ricci thinks a decision on this is at least 2 years out, and she doesn't have any influence over making it move faster
    2. Even if the proposal gets done & presented, she thinks it's likely the donors will reject it. (Fiscal sponsors have a bad reputation as being a "free-for-all" which puts the donors at risk of their technology being used in ways they never intended it to be and/or by people they never intended it for.) She doesn't think we could do anything to convince them otherwise.


  1. There may be a way to get access to Techsoup products for all of the School Factory fiscally sponsored entities by completing a special application specifically for those nonprofits that have multiple locations
    1. Ex) YMCAs all need their own Techsoup account because it's unreasonnable for their main office location to manage the technology needs of all their locations. (Each location is different & has different needs.)
    2. I asked if the different locations all had to have the same name, and Ricci said no
    3. However, we would have to list all of our sponsored entities on our website and include their physical addesses so Techsoup can research and verify.
  2. Ricci is currently locating this special application (her copy was lost due to her laptop being stolen and no back-up being done!) Once she has it she will send it to me.
  3. Even if we complete the special application and jump through all of the extra hoops. we are not guaranteed to be granted access to Techsoup for all of our sponsored entities.
    1. Again it depends on how our application is interpreted by the decision makers (not Ricci) at Techsoup, as well as influenced by the donors.

As information progresses, I will keep everyone in the loop.



I sent the following email today to TechSoup:

Meghan Koven
3:41 PM (1 minute ago)
to gayle, James

Hello Gayle,

As promised, I am sending you information about our 501(c)3 organization, called the School Factory, Inc.

In a perfect universe, I am hoping to create a partnership with TechSoup that will allow us to provide all of our fiscally sponsored entities with your donated products & services.

Founded over 10 years ago, this organization’s purpose is to overhaul the way human beings learn, work and create. There are 2 main categories/divisions to the organization:

Space FederationEmergentcy Schools
40+ (and growing) members across the US that operate collaborative/shared spaces for individuals & groups to work, play, teach, learn, collaborate and create. Bucketworks is an example here in Milwaukee.20+ (and growing) entities across the US that design & develop collaborative & nonconformist learning/teaching programs that can be hosted in any space and in which anyone can participate. Examples that are hosted in Milwaukee are: BarCamp MKE, Web414, Wordpress MKE, The World’s Stage

What makes us unique is that we are not strictly an incubator organization. Some of our sponsored entities are actively pursuing their own EIN and 501(c) statuses, while others have no interest in doing so. We currently serve as a fiscal sponsor, but are also exploring Group Exemption as an additional option to offer our sponsored entities.

I would be happy to set up some time to talk through any options you may have available. I use Tungle, an online schedule management tool, to schedule meetings, and it syncs up with my current calendar to include my real-time availability. Please click on and follow their user-friendly step-by-step process to find a time to talk.

Let me know if you have any questions -- I look forward to exploring the possibilities!



Response from Techsoup:

Hi Megan,

Just a quick heads up that I received your email, and I am including Ricci Powers, who heads up national accounts for the Business Development team above.  As I mentioned, she’ll be the right person to guide you on the correct method to benefit the largest number of your organizations.  She’ll be back in office on August 9 – we look forward to helping you in your quest soon!

All the best


Gayle Samuelson Carpentier
Chief Business Development Officer 
TechSoup Global

Office: 415.633.9344

Cell: 415.370.5685



Due Date: Friday, Jul 20»Friday, Sep 14

Updating due date. Still awaiting response & special form from TechSoup. I will email them again today.


I still haven't heard anything from Techsoup about the School Factory getting access to products for all of its fiscally sponsored entities.

Per comment #9, since I haven't heard from them I'm thinking it unlikely that they will allow us to pursue special status.

However, the School Factory does have an account with them so (in theory) we would be able to get a number of licenses for free software (limited to the School Factory organization) that we could then pass along to those who want it.

The problem is going to be when more spaces want licenses than are available to give. I think the fairest way to make decisions about who gets what is to do it on a first come/first served basis.

On a separate note, I am going to resolve this task, as it's the same as another task within the Space Federation Group. Since this issue is related to everyone in the Space Federation (and not just NOVA Lab) it makes sense to me to move the discussion there. Please follow the thread on this topic here:


Status: Open»Resolved

This task is being addressed HERE.

Space Federation