respond-school-cant-afford-software4 Ways To Respond When Your School Can’t Afford Software

by Vanja Mimic,

There are so many great software solutions out there that make life easier for everyone. In education, adopting and promoting new technologies has an even larger significance. It not only stimulates creativity and makes learning fun, but  it also teaches children from a very young age to always seek better ways to solve existing problems.

However, even though sometimes essential, advanced software is often not affordable to nonprofits and educational institutions. Software companies pricing policies can vary a great deal, from equal prices for everyone to completely free for some categories of customers.
The ones who are are not in favor of special pricing often make a few key points. First is that nonprofits face the same challenges as for profit businesses when it comes to budgeting, financial strains, planing and care for employees. That is why many of them are actually not making any profit. Secondly,  many companies opt for direct donations to causes they believe in.
With all this is mind, it is notable that many companies, big and small, do offer for nonprofit pricing. Some do so openly and clearly, while others occasionally and arbitrary give discounts to those who ask for it. This is one of the main reasons software companies so frequently get asked about nonprofit pricing.

4 Ways To Respond When Your School Can’t Afford Software

1. Open Source
First, there is the open source alternative. It is usually free but unlike proprietary software it comes with little or no support. It also can often be pretty basic and have serious lack of features, but not always. is a great resource for finding quality open source software, like for example. Open Source software, while a mixed bag, is one path if your school can’t afford what you’re looking for.
2. Commercial Software 
Secondly, there is commercial software with discounted pricing. You can install it yourself and use it in full capacity. In this case, there are various pricing strategies companies go for depending on their size, target market, software itself and many other factors. Large companies like Microsoft and Adobe, are very interested in education.
They have special academic programs aimed at partnering with the education sector. Their long term goal is to make their products essential in the teaching processes. Therefore, they are generally willing to work with schools and that is worth considering. When it comes to smaller software companies, they are usually more flexible.
This applies to pricing as well. There is often room for negotiation, even if officially  there is no special pricing.

3. Move Towards The Cloud

Whatever approach you take, when it comes to trends in software solutions, cloud is one of the first terms that comes up. What exactly is the cloud?

Cloud computing is a popular buzzword but not really a new concept. What it really means is that data and software are not stored on your hard drive but rather accessible from anywhere using internet connection. This is an increasingly popular solution for a number of reasons. It is quick and easy to set up, it has access from pretty much anywhere and is usually very well maintained and supported.

It is not without downsides, like licensing or internet connectivity issues, but cloud based services have shown to be a valuable resource for increasing number of nonprofits. According to a 2012 research, 53% of nonprofits have plans to move to cloud-based services in the future.

4. Search And You Will Find


Some businesses don’t offer discounts themselves but rather use specialized resellers for that purpose. There are sites that focus on connecting nonprofits or academic institutions with donors or vendors with special pricing. Libraries and state agencies are possibilities as well.

Others offer free resources, useful advice, eBooks or even partial or limited products, all aimed at attracting nonprofits and getting their attention. This proves that nonprofit and academic market is still attractive for commercial businesses which is a good sign.

As long as there is healthy competition, with a bit of research, there is always a way to get a better deal.

4 Ways To Respond When Your School Can’t Afford Software