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All About TechSoup

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We're going to go ahead and get started with learning how TechSoup can help your organization. We are joined today by other TechSoup staff ... I'll reintroduce myself quickly, I'm Becky Wiegand (BW), I am a staff writer here at Tech Soup, I also manage a blog, too and write articles, and host webinars, and do fun stuff like that we are doing right now. In addition we have Kami Griffiths (KG) , who is an online education person who helps run our webinars program. We'll also be joined by Megan Keane (MK), who is one of our community folks here, who runs our community forums and works with Second Life and does a lot of great events and outreach for engaging non-profits. And lastly we have Anne Van Schooneveld (AS), who is a manager of customer service. She'll be helping answer questions, specifically how to access the products and discounts through Tech Soup. Helping us with Chat questions we have Kami Griffiths, who I mentioned earlier, and Katie Calegari (KC), who is one of our customer service representatives and who can help answer any of your account questions and get you started. A quick look at our agenda; I'm going to go ahead and take a couple of minutes and look at Tech Soup from above and then we'll start talking about some of the different resources available from our content and our ring center, webinars and blogs, Megan is going to talk about the community, and then Anne is going to take us through how to get started with the donation program. So, a little bit of background about Tech Soup. Our mission statement is at the top of this slide. You can see that we are working toward a time when every non-profit and social benefit organization on the planet has the technology resources and knowledge they need to operate at their full potential. What that means is that we are really working hard to try and ensure that you have the technology and the knowhow for using it, so that you can take the time getting your mission accomplished. A little bit of background about Tech Soup. We started in 1987, All of this is presented to you on the timeline that I won't go ahead and read through, it takes us through to today where we now are a global organization, headquartered in San Francisco, but with partner organizations in more than 30 countries at this point. And here are some of our stats and numbers, which I won't go over in detail, because you can obviously see those and the great impact we have had on the non-profit community. We want to make sure that we can continue to bring these services to non-profits and libraries around the world. This is where we are located around world, currently in 32 different countries, everything orange has Tech Soup represented, and has some sort of discount or donation program, as well as various community and contact resources that we make available. So, really quickly, I'm going to take you to a look at our new homepage. If you are new to Tech Soup, you may not have noticed there is a difference but you will come to this home page, Tech Soup dot org and you will see that we have quite a different layout than we had had in the past. We are in the process of updating our whole website to be much more user friendly and accessible and hopefully that will be happening over the next year and some change. But just a few cues to features and where you want to get around, the log in and Tech Soup buttons at the top, there are individual registrations so you would create your own as an individual person, so that you can participate in the forums, and so that you can become an agent for your organization in order to place donation requests. You can find products by searching, either in this top box, or also here in this search box; you can also browse for products by category, so say you are looking for fundraising software, you could click on the fundraising category and see what sort of software products are available. You can also browse by partners and look for Adobe products or Flip Video.or Microsoft products, by the partner name. In addition you can sign up for either of our two newsletters, which could be where you found out about this webinar today. But if not, feel free to sign up for By the Cup, our weekly newsletter which is a roundup of all of our TechSoup events and new donation programs, new content and new events that are happening. And also a new product alert specifically about products and what's new and what's coming and what special promotions are going on for different discount and donation programs. In addition to the new home page we have a new search page that takes you to kind of the broad companion of resources on our site. If you search a specific term you will see products, you will see resources from our learning center, you'll see different community forum threads that are taking place. You'll see a broad variety of the resources available. We'll get into more detail about how to see those products when Anne talks in a couple of minutes (or a few minutes, I guess). Next on our list, the TechSoup Learning Center. As I skip back really quickly to this home page, you'll see that all the sections that we're talking about today are covered here in the "Get Started" box. We're talking about the Learning Center, the Community, the Blog, webinars within the Learning Center, and obviously Get Products will be the cream on the cake for later on in our discussion. So back to the Learning Center. So you click on the Learning Center tab and it takes you to this landing page where you can see what's featured, you can see what the latest articles are: how to extend the life of your computer, green IT, software issues, whatever the topic is, you will see the latest articles, you can view them by recent articles, and the latest articles that are being published in reverse chronological order. You can also browse by category or topic. So you see these topics listed here on the side of the page. So if you are looking for a new funding donor database, you can look in our database section and see a whole collection of articles on that subject. You see the list of latest articles. We also have an RSS feed for those so if you just want to know what's new we have an RSS feed here, IGoogle, you can feel free to subscribe to that and you get the fool list of what's coming down the pike and what's brand new and what's the latest public info on technology for non-profits. We also have a free download section. Which you can get to from the e-learning center download, down at the bottom, it's a separate section here, where you can find all kinds of free resources, everything from creating pdf files, if you don't have Adobe products and you need a free way to do that, you can find free Office Suites, free downloadable programs, free forums, tools to create a forum, forum for Insight, things like that you can find in this section in the free downloads area of our site. Just about wrapping up so I can pass along to somebody else. I do want to say a couple of other quick things. We have a Green Tech program that's just Tech Soup dot org, slash green tech; and this is all about Green technology. So we have a big program here at Tech Soup to provide refurbished computers to non-profits and libraries throughout the country, throughout the world through our Microsoft authorized refurbishing program. So if you need equipment, we have a full range of laptops and desktop computers available, some of them refurbished and do have a warranty. You can find more details about them in our get products section. But our Green Tech program is about more than just the products. We want to make sure that people are informed about how to make their offices and their non-profits greener, so we are running a campaign right now about how to reduce power use and save energy, called Empower Yourself. So if you are interested in participating in that you can just go to this Green Tech section, click on one of these links; you can find articles, blog posts, webinars, anything related, events related to green technology. Somebody's asking if we have printers, scanners and copiers, we do have a program with IKON, if you go to our site and click partners and click IKON, you can see the different vendors and the different office-grade printers and copiers that are available. And those are re-manufactured and come with a warranty as well. So there's a lot of different products available, a lot of great information, and if you are looking to green your office this is a great resource to look to because it's geared specifically toward non-profits and social benefit organizations. Another quick thing I'll mention is the TechSoup for libraries program. For a long time Tech Soup was thoroughly focused on non-profits, somewhat exclusively. And we got a grant from the Gates Foundation to start this libraries program. And we have a number of partners that offer their donations for library use and also sometimes extend that to be able to give those donations to the patrons. Every donor has different restrictions though, so you have to look carefully at the eligibility and restrictions to know which ones will work for you, but there is a variety of products available in addition to resources like our cookbooks that were created and written by contributions from other libraries and librarians. This is written for libraries by libraries; so it's a great set of resources, and we spotlight the cool things that other libraries are doing with their technology. So if you are a library, definitely check out Tech Soup for Libraries. And before I pass it on I just want to mention the Tech Soup blog. It's a great resource to sign up for via RSS feed which is at the bottom of the page, not on our screen. You get everyday updates of news, thoughts, and great technology information specifically written for non-profits, and mostly written by people who either work or were consultants for non-profits or have been with a small non-profit in the past as an employee, like I was. And so try to write from the personal experience of what has worked or what doesn't work and also write good advice on how to figure out good solutions to your technology problems. So with that I'm going to go ahead and pass it along to Kami Griffiths. She's going to talk a little bit about our webinar program. (KG) Certainly. Very happy to have everyone here today. Thanks for taking time to learn more about our program. So, since we hear you know a little bit about our webinar program, we've been doing it for a little bit over a year now and have made quite a few webinar recordings available on our website. So here is a screen grab of our main webinar page and the url for this and I think that somebody here can send that out as And when you go here you will see our upcoming webinars, as well as the previous webinars, so Tech Training Made Simple with Online Videos is a great webinar that we are doing next Wednesday. And if I scroll down you can see all the previous webinars that we've done. And someone was asking if we had done anything on paperless offices; so I'd like to point out that here's a link to the Green Tech webinar that we did last year on that topic -You can see that there's a lot of different things to see, a lot of webinars on social media. Over here on the right hand side we have an online learning spotlight where we pull in a feed of webinars that are done by other non-profits and companies specifically for non-profits and libraries. I wanted to also point out that once you click on one of our webinars, here is the registration page, you all saw this when you registered for today's webinar. And it's a great opportunity for us to highlight one of our vendor partners which is Ready Talk, this is their interface, it's pretty slick. And once the webinar is completed you will get a message from us with all the links we talked about in today's webinar as well links to the Power Point -we download the audio so that you can put that onto your mp3 player and listen in to it on the bus on your way to work. And if you then are able to participate or want to share it with friends or want to go back and see something that had happened on the webinar you could watch the recording and this of course is free.You can watch as many times as you want. The only downside is that you must have a broadband connection. So, just a little bit about our programs, again there's our url. We do these pretty much on a weekly basis; we like to forward all the follow-up conversation and questions into our community forums, which we'll be providing spotlinks and talking more about that in a few minutes. We record them all; the audio is available and we are able to offer these for free because Ready Talk has donated the service to us. And here's a list of our upcoming webinars. Next week actually we'll be talking with the group that does the Common Craft videos; and this one will be specifically for organizations that do training. And I'm trying to cook up a really cool webinar on accessible technologies and I'm still looking for some presenters there. so keep tuned. As well, we got a really great presenter that goes by the name of Gunner, Alan Gunn, here in San Francisco, who will be doing a webinar on How Much Should a Website Cost? Those are our upcoming webinars. Then this is the online learning spotlight, which is the feed that we created that pulls in webinars that are specifically for non-profits and libraries. And then up here,....of course, one of my favorites. These are a feed of their webinars. And I've been undertaking a pretty big project for the last year, trying to make all of our webinars accessible for folks with hearing disabilities, so we are having all of our webinars transcribed and pulling that transcription into close captioning into our recording. So here's the new layout of a pre-recorded webinar and there is a close captioning button right here. When you play these you will actually have the close captioning. So we are very, very excited about being able to offer all of our recorded webinars for free. We only have one finished right now because it's a big project to get 50 webinars transcribed; so if you are someone who has some free time and wouldn't mind donating it to Tech Soup to transcribe our webinars, don't hesitate to e-mail webinars at Tech Soup dot org. We are looking for volunteers who will spend anywhere between 6 and 12 hours typing 60 minute-long webinars so that we can close caption and put them on our website. So, I haven't been watching the Chat to see if there's any specific questions, but we will be holding questions for the end; but at this point I'd like to pass it on to Megan to talk about Tech Soup's Community. Megan? I know Megan was having some audio issues a little bit earlier. Star 7, Megan? (MK) Hello? (KM) Hello. (MK) I want to apologize. I've had quite a few audio issues today. But that's technology for you. So, I just wanted to give a little overview. I'm the online community manager here at Tech Soup. Basically my goal here is to really make it easier for all of our Tech Soup members to easily connect with each other and get the answers the questions that they have. And so that is also involved with our forums and also our social media sites. So the next thing you see here on the Tech Soup Community page, you'll see there's a link to our blog, as well as our events calendar, as well as the forum topics. So, while we don't have formal tech support here, we do have this great resource of online forums where you can go and ask any kind of technology related question you have. And then like the webinars, it's totally free. And we have a number of expert folks who really are the backbone of this community. Many of them have been volunteering their time to help answer questions from the beginning. So if you have any kind of tech questions, feel free to post them here and we'll get you the answers or at least point you to the right place to get those answers. And by the same token, if you have some expertise to offer, we'd more than love to have you answer questions on the forums. The other thing that you can look out for if you are on Twitter is the hashtag #dyb which is Donate your Brain. So, every so often we'll have a question come in that we could use some either an answer or make some suggestions or advice. So, have a look for that it's a good to follow just so you can see the kind of questions and maybe it's something that you can answer. I wanted to point to another thing that we have on the Community site, which is our member spotlight. And so, there is a little box that you saw on the Community page that has the spotlight. But here we have a longer blog entry and this is actually one of the winners of our recent digital story telling event. So they did a little bit of a longer profile of the work of his organization and then as you can see there is a smaller blurb on the Community page. Usually we mention this as well in our weekly newsletter. So, it's a nice way to kind of highlight what folks are doing in the community and how they are using Tech Soup. And we hope that the digital story telling event was the first of many when it comes to having more video content on our site, so be looking for that as well. The other thing I do here in addition to managing the forums is oversee our social media efforts. And so we have to make sure that people know where in the online world isTech Soup. And so we have a list here and links to all of the places where we have a presence online. So that includes Twitter, many of you are following us on Twitter; that includes LinkdIn, we also have a couple of subgroups in our LinkdIn for some of our specific projects that you can take a look at. We also have a lot of photos at Flickr and our YouTube page as well. So, have a look at this; this is our Where in the World is Tech Soup page, it's a great way to see where you can connect, and if you are on one of those sites, please do connect with us there. Those books are non-profits. I wanted to also point out that we are on FaceBook as much of the world seems to be these days. And on FaceBook we also have a way for you to follow us here and have a look at our FaceBook page which is up here and then as well there is another way to connect as well. The other main thing I do is I help manage our non-profit commons and second life products. So, what the non-profit is, second life is a virtual 3-d world and there are a number of non-profits that are doing some work in virtual worlds to help further their real life mission. So now we have expanded the non-profit commons, starting in 2006 and it has since expanded to where we have four virtual locations. And we are housing over 80 non-profits at this point and we will achieve an international presence as well with about 14 participants now from all over the world that take part and are fulfilling their mission by using some of the benefits that having a 3-d world can offer. And if you would like more information about this, you can get with us if you happen to be in second life or you can find out more about this virtual thing at our blog page.You see we have a blog and videos as well as other tabs, so that's another way to keep track of all the efforts we are making. And the other thing I wanted to mention, we have our online events; so, as Tami mentioned, we have a number of non-profit technology and webinar specific, but we also have just general non-profit technology events, whether it's in person or on the web. We can find that link here; so it lists all of the things that are not just Tech Soup but the entire non-profit technology community. We are also hoping to do more of multi-platform events, which is what we did with the digital story telling event. So I have a slide here that actually shows my computer screen for the last digital story telling event that we did. We had a number of platforms; we had Ready Talk and Second Life and Soup Chat and we had So we had quite a different number of platforms. This looks like multi-tasking to the extreme, but it was a useful experiment that allowed us to have multiple ways that people could participate in the event. So, we are hoping to have more of those in the future. And I just want to mention here, we also have a net square program. I'm kind of more closely involved with that,but we do have the net square on what we do and that is actually another way that you can connect with us; and so we have monthly net events around the world, so you might want to check to see if you have a local group in your area. It's net square dot org. and feel free to check our efforts out there as well. So, with that I'm going to turn it over and that's it for me, so feel free to post any questions you have for me in the Chat, and you can also follow me on Twitter, I'm at 20sna, and thank you so much. (KG) Thank you, Megan. That's really useful information and helps reiterate the fact that no matter what level of technology you are at or what information you are looking for there are lots of different ways to engage and find answers through Tech Soup and also promote your own technology events through Tech Soup. So, one person asked a question real quickly that I'd like to just answer before we move on to more detail about how to get products; he asked about how to find services within Tech Soup's community and also how to list services. So, if you are in Austin, TX and you are looking for somebody to help you with graphic design or you need help designing your website, you can click on this find services tab, type in your zip code and see what consultants are in your area who will be able to help you out, help do that for you. And if you are a consultant you can also list your services in the find services section, so we really try to make it to connect people to one another so that we can get the technology experts working with the non-profits and libraries that need that expertise. So, with that I'm going to go ahead and move us along to introduce Anne Van Schooneveld, our manager of customer service here at Tech Soup, who is going to talk and give us a little tour of how to get started for those of you who want to start receiving discounted and donated products through Tech Soup. So, Anne, I'm going to hand it off to you. (AS) All right, I should be on. Okay, let's go ahead and get started. So first I'm going to show you how get to the donation section of our website. So, you saw earlier our new home page on Tech Soup, we are pretty excited with that. And let me show you how, alright, from this page you want to go on the left hand side, you see under get started; we've moved over to the older look of our pages. Here you will see a little more information on how to get products, so let's look at those. So, just so you know, if you are on any of these other sections, the learning center, the community and find services that you just reviewed, you will see that the get products tab is blue, so that's another way to find the home page for Tech Soup stock. Tech Soup stock is our donation management program and we work with a lot of different vendors and we'll talk about those in just a minute. First, within the home page you have a couple of different places where you can log in and you can also register if it's your first time visiting. So up here in the top right corner and then also on the left hand side of the page, under manage my account. You will also see contacts on the left hand side and a search box up in the right hand corner. On the left hand side, this is a great place to start if you want to see what kind of products we offer. Here we have a browse by category and a browse by partner section, so each one of those is going to list the different donations that we are offering. If you know that you are looking for a product that is from Intuit, for example, you can just scroll down to browse by partner and look alphabetically for Intuit. We have about 40 partners that we are currently working with and it's an ever expanding list. They are currently listed alphabetically and that includes both our discounted and our donated products. Of course there are a lot of vendors who are well known, including Microsoft and Intuit. And of course we offer products from Ready Talk, for instance. We also have various fundraising tools, for instance from Grantseeker, different reporting tools and business objects, and we have educational resources from the Society for Non-profit Organizations, and just a huge variety of products that hopefully meet the needs of non-profits. We also, as Becky explained earlier, have expanded into software; we've been offering CISCO products for a while and we also have our own program which is the Recycled Computer Initiative, or RCI program, to help distribute refurbished computers. We recently started offering video cameras and that has been quite popular and also products that Becky mentioned earlier. One program that you will all find back on our main page is the Tech Soup Limited Program. That's listed under Browse by Category. And what that is is a program that has a variety of vendors' products listed; and the offerings are limited by a number of different criteria, either you have a limited quantity or the duration of availability is limited; sometimes the limitations are geographical location, and then various other criteria depending on what the vendor has offered us. I think that the good rule for Tech Soup limited products is if you see it and you think you want it you probably want to go ahead and request it right away because it might not be around for very long. That's also a good rule for Adobe products. They tend to come through there quite often, and if you might not be eligible-and we'll talk a little bit about eligibility later-but if you might not be eligible through the main donation program for Adobe products, you might want to check out and see if you might be eligible for the Tech Soup Limited. I want to get a word in here about our different products. And that is that we do have different promotions. Usually about once a month we have a promotion, often in the third week of the month. The hope is that you will purchase one of our products or request one of our donations for a special discount or lowered price for a short period of time. So one good thing to note about our different vendors is that each one has distinct eligibility guidelines that determine what type of organizations can request a donation, how frequently and the quantity of donations. And as I said there is more to come on eligibility. So I wanted to again highlight the top left hand corner of our home page, you can go through the help contact us to get to this e-mail and answer section for Tech Soup stock. This is where to post to try to find answers to your questions; you can send us an e-mail with your questions. This page also has the Tech Soup check list phone number and the hours that our phone support is available. Also in the top left hand corner is a link to our frequently asked questions page. All right, here you go. So, there are quite a few questions. I recommend if you know what you are looking for, and you can't find it right away, you can go to control s to try to find some key words that might be in the question and use them to scroll down and try to find your answer. Just a note that question one point one is a link to our Microsoft donations program, we do get quite a few questions on that so that will take you to a separate set of FAQs that hopefully will answer your questions about Microsoft. So next let's talk about Getting Started, which you can find on the Tech Soup stock home page. Getting Started outlines the different steps that it takes to participate in the Tech Soup stock donations program. Different stuff that you will need to go through. So, I'm going to ahead and walk through several of those steps, so hopefully we'll get some of your questions answered. So the very first thing you will need to do when you show up on our site and you are a new non-profit or new to Tech Soup and interested in receiving a donation. The very first thing you need to do is to set up a user profile. This is a user profile that you will also be able to use if you want to participate in our Community Forums, in the community section of our site, but it's the very first step you need to do in order to request donations as well. So, we ask for your basic contact information, and you will need to set up your user name and password, which you will use going forward to log in right here. Your user name does need to be unique. I recommend your e-mail address, it's easy to remember. After you have set up your user profile, the next step is registering your organization. If you know that your organization already has an account, perhaps somebody else is managing the account or perhaps you have left the organization, you also need to go through this step. One of the first questions we ask you is is your organization registered? And that is pretty important so as not set up duplicate accounts. You want to use an account that has already been set up if it exists. So you will be asked to enter an organization name and password, hopefully the person who might have left your organization has passed that along to you, if not you will want to contact the customer service center. And they will help you obtain that information so that you can link to the existing account. If you are entirely new you will go through the complete registration process. So, here we are. We ask for some basic information about your organization, this is where you will set up the organization ID and password. these are not used to log in, that's important to note. They are only used to connect new contacts to existing organization accounts. So you aren't going to use them every time you come to your Tech Soup account. Several things that you see when you set up your organization's account determine your eligibility for donations. As I said we have donors who have different guidelines that we try to respect. So we just ask you to enter your information as accurately as possible, including a type and subtype for your organization. You should basically explain your organization's primary mission. If you need to see a full list of the types and subtypes, you can go here to learn more about subtypes. And that will bring you to a page that will show you the full list. And we also ask you to enter the budget and describe your contact information. The e-mail address that you enter at this point is the e-mail address that we are going to be using to send products to you, so it's important that it is an up to date e-mail address. So after you have completed registration through our website, what we need to do on our end is to verify your 501c3 status for US orgs., so you will need to dig out your 501c3 documents; you are looking for the first page of the letter from the IRS that essentially states that you do have 501c3 status. We also look to see your organization's name and address and we look at the employer identification number you would have also used for registration; that's how we'll match up your documents to your account. This is actually Tech Soup Global's 501c3 letter, but you might not know that because it says the Compton Center Project and it has an address on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. And for those of you who know where we are located here, we are no longer located on Fillmore Street. So, this is a valid document for us, but you see there are some discrepancies in the information. So, if you were registering to receive donations through Tech Soup, you would need to also send in a letter that lists this information that is on a 501c3 document, and also this information that you have registered with, so in our registration we said that our address was 435 Brandon Street here in San Francisco, so we would need to list that on a letter on our organization's letterhead and just explain we've moved since then. And so, if you do not initially send that in you might receive an e-mail or a call from customer service asking for a letter with that information. So, the next step in your process after you have sent in your qualification documents, and I recommend doing that by fax, by the way, you can go ahead and request a donation.You do not need to wait for that qualification document to be processed, necessarily; your request won't be fulfilled until we receive and process that document, but you can go ahead and place a request online that will just stay pending until we receive your documentation. So, the basic steps to request a donation are to find the products that you are interested in on our site. You will want to review the product details and in just a minute we'll look at one of the product's pages and what that entails; you will add it to your cart on the products page, and then during checkout you are going to be confirming your eligibility. So, as I said, each of our vendors has its own guidelines for eligibility and we have these restrictions built into our website that looks up the information that you used to register your organization and that will compare that to the guidelines set out by the vendor partner and will see if you can or cannot receive this donation at this time. And the last thing is to complete the checkout and we'll look at what that means in just a moment. So we've talked a lot about eligibility and I'll touch on a few things. I most likely won't be able to cover everything. As I said, there are a lot of components to what might make your organization eligible for a donation and each of our members and partners has unique guidelines. One restriction that might apply might be a quantity restriction per fiscal year set up by the partner. Sometimes it's fiscal year, sometimes it's calendar year, from January to December. And then Microsoft, one of our most popular vendor partners has its own system which is an order cycle that starts when you make your first Microsoft order through us. That starts a two-year cycle that has certain restrictions. There also can be restrictions based on budgets. Some of our partners are trying to get to smaller organizations. Others feel that their products most benefit large organizations. So they spec that out in the restrictions. And then organization status is another one. We also have libraries, as we mentioned earlier, that use our site, and some products are available to libraries and others are focused on 503 non-profits. The last thing is the organization type; it may or may not receive different donations. So, each of our vendors reviews our long list of types and subtypes and they decide where they want to focus their donations, so some of our vendors might want to give to organizations that do ourtreach in ithe community and that's really their main purpose; others might want to give primarily to emergency or disaster aid organizations so they set that out to begin with. A question that came up earlier is religious organization eligibility. It's a misconception that religious and faith based organizations can't receive any donations from Tech Soup. Some of our vendor partners do give a limit to donations to religious organizations, but there are quite a few partners that offer their products to religious organizations. We are working on a new page that is going to be listing the main partners that are donating to religious organizations; that's not live yet. In the meantime you can contact customer service and they will be happy to e-mail you a list of the partners that are offering donations. It's interesting to note that if the primary mission of a faith based organization is actually secular, the soup kitchen for a church, if it is a secular program that is the primary mission, we will want to give you your eligibility and you might be eligible for more donations. Let's go ahead and look at one of these product pages. So, you actually see a couple of different product pages on our site. This is because we are mid-revamp of our site. So this is one of our new product pages I'm about to show you. So this is Acrobat Pro 9.0 for Windows. And just a quick note, yes. it has electronic delivery, so we do send this out by e-mail. So you will receive a .....for a download. So the good things to look at on this page are the description of the product; make sure it is what you are looking for. You will also want to look at the current features of the product and any discussions that might be helpful; and then the system requirement; if for instance you have a somewhat older computer and you are not quite sure if it can handle an Adobe product you will want to review those just to make sure it can. And lastly the restrictions that I have talked about before for eligibility for that particular product. So, quickly, let's go over the different steps during checkout. It's a pretty self-explanatory process. So let's move out of the products in your cart and we are going to have you go to checkout and have you go through our six step checkout process. The very first thing is to specify your organization. We do this so that we have some contacts, particularly to multiple organizations; and verify--basically it's just summary information for the product. So, you will want to make sure that you have an up to date address, particularly your e-mail address should be up to date. We are getting more and more electronically delivered products. And make sure that you are expecting to receive that product at that e-mail address. Step two is the restrictions that I mentioned earlier. And like I said, this is where you may or may not be stopped if you are not actually eligible for the product. Lastly you will have a couple of shipping options; we'll ask for payment information and then you will confirm and place your donation request. All right,well, that's all that I have for you today, so let's move on to questions. (KG) Thanks so much, Anne. That was really a useful tour I think and hopefully answered questions from many of the people participating. If you have more though that haven't been answered, feel free to use the Chat box now to let us know, and I will get us started with some of the questions that have already come in. And a lot of them have been focused on how to qualify for products so I think a lot of these are going to be for Anne. So one person, Bob, asked, what do you do if the organization name, that was registered previously is different now from what was on the original IRS tax determination letter? What's the way to fix that, Anne? (AS) Well, let me tell you. The example I used earlier was a change in address, and that is fairly common; but we definitely get organizations that change names as well. And it's essentially the same thing that we are going to ask from you; a letter on your organization's letterhead, that lists the old name of your organization and the new name of your organization and that explains why it has changed. Just a note, we can also do these verifications if your organization has a website. We'd be happy to look at your website expressly for name changes and address changes. And if we can look at a url that is associated with your organization and find the new information, we'll just use that instead. So, either contact our customer service department to look at your website, or send in that letter on your letterhead. (KG) Great. How does somebody find out if their organization is already a member? (AS) That would be after you have set up your user profile and you click on the register my organization, the very first thing we ask you to do is enter your tax ID number. Our system will look for your tax ID number and if it finds it, then we will let you know that there is already an account set up under that tax ID number. And at that point you will have the option to enter the organization ID and password. As I said, it might need to be obtained from our customer service department and otherwise someone internally at your organization may have passed it along to you and that will help you connect to an existing account. (KG) Great, that's really good to hear. We have one person asking can you have more than one person using different accounts. I just want to verify because they say you have board members or volunteers who might be the person placing an order at some point and another person on staff who would do it. Does it have to be one person, do you share an ID, what's the way to do that? (AS) Yes, each person can have their own ID and be connected to the organization's account. No cap to the number of contacts that are on the account. I would recommend that you have at least one person on the account who is going to be around for awhile. You know, some volunteers come and go. I also recommend that the executive director sign on for the organization. (KG) Great. Bill is asking is there an automated way to discover what products we are eligible to receive? (?) Actually, that is in the works; that's a great question. We have an eligibility tool that we are currently working on behind the scenes here. Essentially we'll ask you to enter a lot of the same information that you would during your organization registration; and then it will magically spit out a list of the vendor partners that you will be eligible to receive donations from most likely. There are still some limitations. If your organization has already requested during some periods, you might not be able to receive it and so on. But it will be good guidelines to start out the eligibility process. (KG) Very useful information. We have John asking how long does it typically take to receive approval once you have faxed in the documents and set up your organization's account? (AS) Well, I think we usually set that expectation at three weeks. Most often that is an exaggeration. Sometimes we have a 1-2 day turnaround time. Right now we are a little backed up; I believe we are going back a couple of weeks, primarily because we have the very popular Windows 7 products and that has really increased our demand. So our customer service department is plugging away, but there might be a little bit of turnaround time. If you have the opportunity to call us up, one of our reps would be happy to look for your fax and documents and work them right then and there. (KG) Great. And I can vouch for the fact that customer service is working their collective buns off trying to keep up with the demand for Windows 7. It's a really popular product and has taken us all by surprise at how popular it has been. We have Elijah asking do you need a credit card to pay, or is there another way you can issue payment for the administrative fees? (AS) Well, yeah. You actually have a couple of options when you check out. Credit card is definitely one of them and I do recommend using a credit card if at all possible. It kind of speeds up the process. The other option is to pay by check, and you will have to mail that in. Please be aware that if you are participating in one of our promotions there might be a very limited time frame in which you will have to send in your payment. Sometimes we have to have all promotions' products disposed of within a week or two of the actual promotions. So, that is something to be aware of. But otherwise you can mail your check in and I believe that information on where you can send that is on the contact us page of our site. (KG) Great. Well, I'm going to take time just for two more questions and then we can take other questions in our Community Forums and obviously through the webinars at Tech Soup dot org e-mail address or through the customer service e-mail address, specifically for some of these customer service related questions, if they are specific to your account, it's probably best to go through them. But before we wrap up, we had one person who said we are a church but we operate social service programs, a soup kitchen and a child welfare program, so which category should we select; how do we make the decision and how do we know what would make us most eligible. (?) Wow, great question. Well, each church will only have one account, so that's a bit of a choice on their account. You'll need to set up an account that is for, for instance, St. Anthony's Soup Kitchen would be the name of the account. You would send the 501c3 document in for St. Anthony's church if that indeed is what covers the organization. And then you would have to make a choice, essentially, about what type of organization will be using those products. And if you have questions, this is something that is a little bit difficult to navigate at times, I do recommend contacting our customer service department and they can help you with that determination. (BW) Great. With that I'm going to go ahead and get us wrapped up. But like I said, we really would love it if you have more questions we'd love to take the opportunity to answer them by joining us in our community forums where we continue the discussion. Tech Soup Town Hall is where you can ask any kind of question about Tech Soup; how we work, what we do, how we can help you get your job done. And I'd like to take a quick moment to thank our webinar sponsors, Ready Talk. This webinar is made possible by Ready Talk, which has donated the use of their system to help Tech Soup expand awareness of technology throughout the non-profit sector. Ready Talk helps non-profits and libraries in the US and Canada reach geographically dispersed areas and increase collaboration through their audio conferencing and web conferencing services, which you have just experienced today. So I'd like to go ahead and thank Anne Schooneveld, Megan Keane, Kami Griffiths for their presentations today. I'd also like to thank Katie Calegari, who was in the background answering Chat questions rapidly. And I know there are some folks we'll be following up with in person or not in person but by e-mail with specific answers to your questions as well. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you to Ready Talk and please join us in the forums to ask more questions. And hopefully you will be joining us as a member of Tech Soup soon. If you have any additional questions you can feel free to reach me at Tech Soup Global dot org. Thank you much and have a terrific day.

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Duration: 55 minutes and 37 seconds
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Posted by: techsoupglobal on Dec 7, 2009

TechSoup Webinar: All About TechSoup

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