The most popular (non-Office) Microsoft donations for charities

Nobody needs to be told twice how useful Microsoft Office is for charities, offering great resources that organisations have come to rely on.

It’s also worth considering Microsoft’s additional offerings, which may be a little more particular, but could be just what your organisation needs.

In this article we look at three, great non-Office products that are still very popular on the tt-exchange programme, with good reason.

Visio Professional

Microsoft Visio

What is it?
This is software offering a user-friendly platform for creating clear and informative diagrams. Users have the option to:

  • Select a template: stencils are offered to help you find the best template for your diagram.
  • Drag and drop designs and shapes: Easily edit and tailor diagrams to offer the most clarity and accuracy.
  • Choose themes and styles: Add specific colours, fonts and effects to maintain consistent branding.
  • Add text: elaborate on specific data sets or add a commenting pane to allow for discussion.

The software has a range of applications depending on knowledge and experience. IT professionals may use it to plan and document networks or create proposals for new infrastructure. Alternatively, it can be used for tasks as simple as producing flow charts for internal use.

Microsoft Visio

How does the licensing work?

There are two licensing models available: key management service (KMS) license keys and multiple activation keys (MAK). Which one is best suited depends on a few factors such as organisation type, network size, and OS versions. You can find out more about the different offerings here.

You should check your hardware and software meet the minimum requirements prior to purchasing; the full list of requirements can be found here. Examples include: a 1-GHZ processor (minimum) and an operating system no older than Windows 7.

What does it cost

Visio Professional is available on the tt-exchange programme for £33, a highly discounted rate exclusive to eligible charities.

Microsoft Datacenter

Windows Server Datacenter

What is it? 

You guessed right, this one’s a server. This edition has increased capability compared to the standard alternative. The key additions include:

  • Hyper-V Containers: These are lighter-weight alternatives to traditional virtual machines. The Datacenter edition offers unlimited Hyper-V containers, making Datacenter a much better fit for heavy virtualisation users and those with high IT requirements.
  • Storage Spaces Direct: Designed to help facilitate hybrid environments, Microsoft have used industry-standard servers to make highly scalable storage that simplifies procurement and deployment.

It offers a more efficient server for organisations with advanced demands, and is worth considering if your current servers are struggling for capacity.

In the image to the right, from top to bottom, the images represent: simplicity, unrivalled performance, fault tolerance, resource efficiency, manageability and scalability. You can find out more about this here.

How does the licensing work? 

As with the Standard Edition, the licensing in this case is core-based with Windows Server CALs required for every user or device that requires access. A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical processor and a minimum of 16 for each server. For more information on this we’ve written a blog post to simplify it as best we can.

A 2-year cycle begins from the date of your first Microsoft donation request on tt-exchange, during which your organisation can request products from up to 10 title groups (i.e. Windows Server counts as 1, Powerpoint counts as another, etc.), with a 50-product maximum on core-based licensing servers such as this (including any necessary user CALs). This quota resets once 2 years is up.

What does it cost?

Windows Datacenter with software assurance is available on the tt-exchange programme for £50 – which works out as over 94% cheaper than fair market price.

Project Professional

What is it?

This is Microsoft’s answer to project management software. It’s ideal for managerial staff to stay updated and in control of project work and schedules. It offers all the capabilities of Standard, as well as additional resource-management tools and better integration with other Microsoft products.

If your organisation uses Project Server and/or SharePoint, integration and collaboration become much more straightforward with Project Professional. Some of the top features include:

  • Scheduling: the option to create deadline forecasts, that can alter automatically or manual depending on a variety of factors.
  • Planning: the team planner offers a drag and drop interface to view and simplify resource scenarios and quickly identify gaps or errors.
  • Project Management: As mentioned, you can integrate the software with additional project management tools to give control across multiple dashboards.

You have freedom to choose which version of the software you download, depending on what you’re used to.


How does the licensing work?

Each purchase grants you one license to install the software on a single device, and offers one client-access license for Project Server so that one device has access to all the services, regardless of the number of users.

The entitlement works in the same way as is stated above in the information for Windows Datacenter. The 2-year cycle begins once your first donation is taken and up to 50 desktop licenses can be taken per cycle.

What does it cost?

Project professional can be too big of a stretch to the budget at fair market value. Luckily, through tt-exchange, it’s available to charities for only £64 per licence. That is under 5% of the software’s original cost, making a previously unthinkable option a much more tempting choice for charities.



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