Whether a ministry is separately incorporated or functions under the umbrella of an Annual Conference, it is a safe assumption that they fall into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)’s exempt non-profit status 501(c)(3), exempting them from federal income tax. This status is also a ticket to accessing technology for free or at greatly discounted prices.
As a registered and recognized 501(c)(3) organization, you are eligible to receive for free a group of premium Google services for which a for-profit business would pay $50 per user, per year.
Collaboration is made easy through Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. Google Drive is cloud-based storage that allows you to store and share files seamlessly. Your Google Drive and Gmail account share 30GB of storage. Google also allows you to provide customized URLs. In other words, you can provide your staff and volunteers with a simple domain name to access their applications, e.g., mail.umcrm.org. For MS Outlook aficionados, there is a plug-in that allows for seamless integration. Click for Outlook Sync for Google Apps
Google Apps for Nonprofit members also receive access to:
• YouTube – An enriched version that allows users to customize the look and feel of their channel, and place Call-to-Action overlays directly on their videos.
• Google Earth – Free licensing for Google Earth Pro and Maps API for Business.
• Google Ad Grants – Google Ad Grants is the nonprofit edition of AdWords, Google’s online advertising tool. Google Ad Grants empowers nonprofit organizations, through $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords advertising, to promote their missions and initiatives on Google search result pages.
Google Analytics is a product that is available for free outside of the Google for Nonprofits program. Google Analytics tracks how people find and interact with information on your website. This data can be very important when making strategic decisions regarding a web presence. Click for more information on Google Analytics.
Vertical Response provides easy, fast, and measurable e-mail marketing services.
Eligible 501(c)(3) organizations receive 10,000 free email credits at the start of each month. It’s a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ system, so credits will expire at the end of that month. Additional credits can be purchased at a 15% discount.
DreamHost offers a free hosting plan to non-profit, charitable organizations registered in the United States. This discount applies to a single hosting plan per non-profit, hosted within only one account, for US-based 501(c)(3) organizations.
Tech Shop Hardware Partners provides discounted computer hardware for United Methodist churches and ministries. Current partnerships include HP, Dell, CDW, and Apple. Individual camps and retreat centers are able to leverage the same discounted rates large nonprofit organizations enjoy by purchasing products as a group. For example, a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and three years of AppleCare cost $2,118.00 purchased through the Tech Shop Ministries portal. Fair Market Price: $2,348.00. This represents a 10% discount. This may not sound like a lot, but a 10% discount from Apple is almost unheard of. In addition to the discount, Apple makes it relatively easy for non-profits to avoid paying sales tax. Believe it or not, Apple requires you to fax a copy of your state sales tax exemption certificate (if applicable) to them. Analog fax is the only way they will currently accept this document.
Techsoup offers generously discounted or donated software to the nonprofit community. The eligibility for discounts and donations is calculated by each donor. Eligibility will vary depending on a number of factors including program budget and whether or not the donor considers faith-based organizations to be “Charitable.” Late in 2013, Microsoft announced that faith-based 501(c)(3) organizations are now eligible for discounted pricing through Techsoup. Faith-based organizations were previously exempt from receiving discounted software.
Techsoup pricing example: Microsoft OneNote 2013
Fair Market Price: $111.00 Techsoup Price: $4.00 Discount: 96%!
Ian Hall lives with his wife Laura (whom he met at camp!) and their two children, Elliot (6) and Nolan (2), in Bloomington, Indiana. Ian serves as the Associate Director of Financial Services for the Indiana Conference and volunteers his time as the Treasurer for UMCRM. He also maintains his camp cred through backpacking, youth missions, and other camp-y pursuits.