Microsoft Launches $5000 Azure Credit for Nonprofits

If you assist nonprofits with their I.T. needs, you may have noticed a flurry of announcements made in January about Microsoft’s plans to donate “$1 billion of cloud computing resources over the next 3 years to serve the public good” (from this official blog post).

I’ve been watching the Microsoft philanthropies home page for a while. Regarding Azure, it only says “coming soon”:

Azure for Nonprofits 1

Now here’s the trick:  ignore the “coming soon.” Scroll to the bottom of that page and choose Get Started:

Azure for Nonprofits 2

Follow the instructions to get a TechSoup Validation Token. If you’ve already validated your nonprofit status with TechSoup, this is simply a matter of visiting this page, choosing your country and language, and signing in with your TechSoup member ID. Copy a current validation token (create one first if needed), then back on the Microsoft site, enter the token it on the Sign In page.

A page comes back listing your available benefits. At the bottom of the page, I found Azure available as a benefit with a $5000 annual credit for this U.S.-based nonprofit. I’ve already signed up on their behalf, so now it shows the benefit as active:


Azure for Nonprofits 3

Signing up took only a few minutes, including getting back the welcome email. After that, you create a new Azure account from this link. A credit card is required in case you go past your $5000 limit. The Azure account now shows the $5000 balance:

Azure for Nonprofits 4

A Microsoft representative explained that Azure for Nonprofits started its “soft launch” on August 3 and that it will roll out more broadly in September. Although the credit expires after one year, he said they plan to do an “annualized refresh,” i.e. this is a perpetual donation, not just a first-year-free promotion.

You can do a lot with $416 a month in Azure credits. That’s more than enough to run a couple servers in the cloud and still have plenty left over to pay for storage, backups, etc. Thanks, Microsoft, for helping support nonprofits!

Update 3 October 3 2016

An astute reader submitted this September 26 blog post by

Bringing more cloud power to serve nonprofits

Update 23 November 2018 – Offer Now 50 Active Directory + $3500 Other Azure Services

As Rick points out in a comment today, the offer has changed:  up to 50 seats of Active  Directory Premium (Enterprise Mobility + Security E3), valued at $1500, plus $3500 in other Azure services. See

61 thoughts on “Microsoft Launches $5000 Azure Credit for Nonprofits

  1. Mark Berry Post author

    Sorry to hear of that mixup. I think I see what happened.

    I got three emails in 2017.

    1. First says, “Thank you for choosing Microsoft Azure to make the world a better place. We wanted to let you know that your current Azure grant renewal date is 21 day(s) away. If you would like to renew for another $5,000 (US) Azure Credit, please click below. [Click Here to Renew]”

    After clicking the renewal, I got two emails:

    2. “Through the BizSpark Plus program, we are pleased to offer you a Microsoft Azure Sponsorship as set forth below and in the Microsoft Azure Sponsorship Offer Details for Account ID: [email address]. End Date: 8/8/2018 Usage Cap: $5,000 To view your Sponsorship balance and information, please go here and log in with your account ID. If you have an existing active sponsorship, no action is required. If this is your first sponsorship OR your previous sponsorship expired, please click the button below: Activate” (It’s very tempting to click that big orange button. Why is it even offered when they know it’s a renewal?)

    3. “Congratulations! Your Azure Grant for $5,000 (US) has been approved and will start on 8/8/2017. There is no more action needed from you at this time.”

    Yesterday, when I clicked the link from the #1 email, I again received #2 and #3, with new dates.

    It sounds like your colleague found the #2 email from last year but not the #1 email. It’s interesting that he was able to get a new sponsorship by clicking last year’s Activate button. Hopefully, Azure support will be able to apply the subscription to your existing account.

  2. Rick

    I think that’s exactly right. Will report back. Thanks!

  3. Rick

    I happened to notice in the Admin portal (Billing, Purchase Services), that the Non-Profit section has Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 subscriptions (up to 50 seats) for free. That’s a big deal. I think it may have been there since at least August, but I’m unsure of that.

    It is mentioned on this page. They value it at $1,500, so to keep the same limit of $5,000, the main Azure credit has been reduced to $3,500.

  4. Mark Berry Post author

    Rick – thanks for pointing that out! That’s significant for those who might want to use Enterprise Mobility, but also for those who are planning to use a lot of other services that might exceed $5000/year. Adding an update to the main article above.

  5. jt

    they actually lowered the sponsorship amount…
    the 50 ems e3 are ~1,5$ a piece, x 50 seats (which you *have* to take) = 75$ x 12 months = far less than the $1500 they say it’s worth. 3500$ on top of this makes only about 4400$, some of which many NGOs (those with less than 50 users) have to throw out of the window anyway. personally I was much happier with the original offer :(

  6. Rick

    It’s $3.20 (non-profit) according to my portal. I assume that’s $CAD. Converted over, and it gets very close to $1,500USD.

  7. Mark Berry Post author

    @dsadasdasd ádasdasd, please see the end of the article. The benefit is now $3500. Click the link there to get started.

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