TT-exchange and near-free software
Many large software providers donate licences for their software to charities. Which means that if you are a registered charity then you may be able to get hold of significant software at a cost of no more than an administration fee.
TT-exchange is the system/organisation/website that distributes this ‘donated’ software in the UK to charities. It used to be known at CTX and for many years VANEL and other local charities have been using the system to get some of our software and save a fortune in the process. (Over the past ten years the TT-exchange website calculates that VANEL has saved £79000 against the full-price costs of software we’ve ordered!)
TT-exchange doesn’t offer everything. There’s still lots of other free or cheap software out there and many online services offer free or discounted subscriptions to software anyway. But some software from the largest providers such as Microsoft normally has to be paid for at full cost. That’s where TT-exchange provides the service.
By way of example:
Microsoft Office Professional Pro normally costs £389 in the UK, but charities can get this for £35+VAT.
Norton anti-virus subscription for small businesses for 10 licences is just £13+VAT rather than £84.99 standard price.
So if the software you need is available you can potentially save significant money.
To be eligible you must be a Registered Charity. It’s the only way the software donors can verify your non-profit status in the UK. This does mean that social enterprises, CIOs and voluntary groups are not able to register with TT-exchange.
If you are eligible, you simply register with the system, confirm all your details and they will then get back to you once your status is confirmed and your account is ready. You will need to give some details – not just your charity registration number. Budgets for IT spend may be required and you often have to supply links to your website or send through notes and confirmation on headed paper to confirm you are who you claim.
Once registered you simply go shopping. Select the software products you need, add them to a basket, pay for them and wait.
There are limits to the number of licences and packages that you can actually put in your basket though. Some providers such as Microsoft allow you quite a lot of licences per package (I think it’s 50) and you can then only re-purchase extra licences annually. Some software comes in packs that you can only choose one of. For example, Norton anti-virus Small Business comes in packs of 1, 5 or 20 licences. You can’t order 26 licences by combining packages – you simply choose one package that suits your needs.
And for much of the software you might not get a CD delivered ready for installation. Increasingly software is ‘delivered’ by email. You get a link to download the software and an email of the licence strings you need to authorise the software. Microsoft software usually requires a visit to a Microsoft licencing site to get your authorisation and then you can begin to install your software.
So, if you are a registered charity, visit the TT-exchange website and browse the product catalogue.
If there’s something you like/need/want, then register with TT-exchange to setup your account and then get shopping.