Microsoft Software Donations Programme FAQs

For answers to general questions about the CTXchange Programme, including registration and placing an order, please see CTX Programme FAQs.


What is the Microsoft Software Donations Programme?

As part of Microsoft’s Affordable Access to Computing Programme, Microsoft operates the Software Donations Programme through Charity Technology Trust's CTX Programme, providing support and software donations to eligible registered charities in the UK.

Microsoft UK’s aim is to build UK prosperity, both socially and economically, through their Citizenship programmes.

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How can I find out if my organisation is eligible?

Please see Microsoft Eligibility Criteria for further information.

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Which products are available through the Microsoft Software Donations Programme?

Please see the Microsoft Directory for further information.

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How much software can my organisation request?

Your organisation's first donation request after 26 July 2011 marks the beginning of its recurring two-year cycles. Within a two-year period, each eligible organisation may request:

  • Products from up to 10 of the title groups, with a 50-license maximum for desktop and operating systems or license-only title groups see below for more details)
  • A maximum of five server products, regardless of title group (see below for more details)
  • After two years, a new cycle begins, and the Entitlement is reset.

Is there a minimum amount of products and software assurance that I need to order?

There is no limit to the number of times an organisation can make a Microsoft donation request within the two-year cycle as long as they have not used up their full 10 title Entitlement.

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How soon will we get the software?

Once your order has been accepted and processed, the normal turnaround time for licence requests is up to 14 days.

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What format will my order come in, and how will I receive it?

Orders are fulfilled using Microsoft Open Licensing. This means that instead of shipping full packaged product and paper licences to you, you will receive:

  • Microsoft product media (ie: discs) delivered by courier to your organisation's registered address. Please note: ONE set of media is shipped per title requested. 
  • An e-mail, sent to your organisation's registered e-mail address, advising you that your Open Licence order has been accepted and processed by Microsoft, which will include:
    • Your Authorisation and Licence Agreement numbers.
    • Directions on how to download licensing agreements from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center website.
    • Product licence key codes that can be used with the media to install the software.

You will receive two types of licenses:

  • Software from the CTX Programme is covered by an agreement between your organisation and Microsoft. You register this agreement at the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Centre website using the agreement license number and authorisation number sent to you by email from Microsoft. The agreement covers all products in your donation.
  • Individual software products need a license key or setup code for activation. For many products, you must retrieve a volume license key (VLK) from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Centre website. Other products, especially server products, have setup codes either printed on the sleeve of the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM or programmed on the disc itself.

You can use the VLK or setup code to install the product only as many times as the quantity of that product in your donation.

License-only products such as client access licenses (CALs) are covered by the donation agreement but (with the exception of Small Business Server 2008 CALs) do not require keys or codes for activation.

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Software Assurance

What is Software Assurance? How does it apply to my donation?

Software Assurance is a Microsoft programme that allows recipients to upgrade licences to any new release of eligible products within two years of the initial request. This means free upgrades for software that comes with Software Assurance within this two-year period. Software Assurance replaces the need to request upgrades for your organisation's volume licences.

Additionally, if you return to the CTX Shop within the two-year ordering period to request additional licences for a product that has undergone a version upgrade, it will not count as an additional title toward the limit of ten titles per two-year period. The number of licences you order will, however, count toward the 50 licenses per title limit.

When you make a donation request for a Microsoft title or licences in the CTX Shop, the product description will state clearly if the product comes with Software Assurance. For products that come with Software Assurance, your organisation will receive free upgrades for two years from the time of your original donation request.

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Refunds & Returns

What should I do if I want to return my order?

Please note: If you have opened the manufacturer's packaging, accessed the license keys on Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center website or installed the software, you will NOT be able to return the software.

If you have NOT opened the manufacturer's packaging, accessed the license keys or installed the software, please e-mail us at with “Order Return Request” as the subject line, and include the following information in the text of your e-mail:

  • Organisation Name
  • Registered Charity Number
  • Order Confirmation Number (five digit number)
  • Reason for return/refund request

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Additional Information

How can I find out more about Microsoft?

One of the areas in which Microsoft works, to make a difference socially within Citizenship, is through Community Affairs. Microsoft has successfully established an extensive network of non-profit partners who they work with to support community-based programmes and local projects which will enable more people to have access to technology. They give to a range of major charity projects both financially and through gifts in kind. In addition they support the investment of their employees in the community. For more information about Microsoft’s wider Citizenship programmes, please see Microsoft UK Citizenship.

You can also visit their Partner Profile.

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