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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I've recently been approached by a guy who's asking if we offer free licenses for non-profits. The license he's asking for is worth more than $250. He's given me some documentation trying to prove this but I think it's a bit phoney (website without contact info, no "non-profit" anywhere on the site, name from the documentation doesn't appear anywhere in the website). My questions regarding this are:
1. Do you give licenses for free for non-profits? If not, at a discount? Or in exchange for anything - referrals, for instance?
2. If you give free licenses, do you do any verification of the non-profit status? Is there any "standard" documentation about this?
I don't have a specific policy, but I've given significant discounts to non-profits. I have never given a free license away based on that, but under the right circumstances I would.
That said, if you feel like it is a scam then just say "sorry, no". The reasons to give a non-profit a discount are to support their cause and to make the product available to customers who can't pay full price.
It sounds like you have a bad feeling about this particular customer, and you're probably right.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
They they are a tax-exempt organization they should be able to give you a copy of their exemption letter from the IRS. They should also have a form 990 filed with the IRS (unless they are a religious organization), and there are sites you can use to look that up.
It's possible if they're small they might be registered as a non-profit corp in their state, but might not have bothered filing with the IRS.
I wouldn't burn significant time on this. Tell him you're willing to provide a discounted license if he can provide documentation, otherwise ignore him.
I do offer important discounts to non-profits but I´m against offering my service/product completely free.
I used to do it (I mean to real NGO/NPOs ) in exchange of publicity (you can read my probono policy here: http://migratetowp.com/support-post/i-am-a-ngo-non-profit-do-i-get-a-discount/ ) but I realized that when something is free many didn´t really appreciate it so know I stick to the discount.
I´d suggest to offer the guy a discount so even if it's phony you are going to get something out of it.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
> 1. Do you give licenses for free for non-profits? If not, at a discount? Or in exchange for anything - referrals, for instance?
No. Also, non-profit doesn't mean that their executives aren't paid handsomely, nor are all non profits charities, nor do all charities give more than 1 cent of charity.
> 2. If you give free licenses, do you do any verification of the non-profit status? Is there any "standard" documentation about this?
We have educational discounts, we don't require any documentation, not worth the hassle. I have never seen this policy abused either, but if it was, it wouldn't be worth the trouble worrying about.
The fact is that more than 90% of customers are honest. Might be 99%, but it's definitely up there. I am opposed to building policies of suspicion and mistrust just because what 1% might do.
That said, I do resist social engineering attacks, such as the email I get from people claiming to have lost their license but who are not customers.
Also, we have given out free copies, but never by request.
Here's the scenario where someone gets a free copy. Product reviewer Bob, a well known writer for a big tech site, often writes about how much he likes our competitor's product, even though ours is better in my opinion. Bob gets a free copy, and I might even hand it to him personally at a conference after I have bought him a beer.
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