Microsoft Licensing Programs

Overview of Microsoft Licensing Programs: Key Options

  • Volume Licensing: Bulk purchase, cost savings.
  • Subscription Licensing: Pay over time, regular updates.
  • Perpetual Licensing: One-time purchase, indefinite use.
  • Academic Licensing: Discounts for educational institutions.
  • Nonprofit Licensing: Reduced prices for eligible nonprofits.
Table Of Contents
  1. Introduction to Microsoft Licensing Programs
  2. Volume Licensing Programs
  3. Subscription Licensing Programs
  4. Perpetual Licensing Programs
  5. Specialized Licensing Programs
  6. Choosing the Right Licensing Program
  7. Managing Microsoft Licenses
  8. Compliance and Audits
  9. Case Studies
  10. Top 10 Real-Life Examples of the Use of Microsoft Licensing Programs
  11. FAQ: Microsoft Licensing Programs
Introduction to Microsoft Licensing Programs

Introduction to Microsoft Licensing Programs

Brief Overview of the Importance of Microsoft Licensing

Microsoft licensing plays a crucial role in managing and optimizing the use of Microsoft software within organizations.

Understanding the different licensing options helps businesses ensure legal compliance, control costs, and access the latest software features and updates.

Effective licensing management is essential for maintaining operational efficiency and avoiding potential legal issues.

Explanation of Various Licensing Programs Available

Microsoft offers a variety of licensing programs tailored to meet the diverse needs of organizations. These include:

  • Volume Licensing: Designed for organizations needing multiple copies of software, offering cost savings and simplified management.
  • Subscription Licensing: Allows businesses to pay for software over time with regular updates and support, including options like Microsoft 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).
  • Perpetual Licensing: Involves a one-time purchase for indefinite software use, ideal for businesses preferring ownership of their software.
  • Specialized Licensing: Includes programs for educational institutions and nonprofits, providing discounted or free access to essential tools and software.

Objectives of the Article

This article aims to provide an extensive overview of Microsoft licensing programs, covering their definitions, benefits, and specific use cases.

It will explore:

  • Detailed explanations of volume, subscription, perpetual, and specialized licensing programs.
  • Guidelines for selecting the right licensing model based on organizational size, needs, and budget.
  • Tools and resources available for managing Microsoft licenses effectively.
  • The importance of compliance and how to handle Microsoft audits.
  • Real-life examples of how different types of Microsoft licenses are utilized in various sectors.
Volume Licensing Programs

Volume Licensing Programs

Definition and Benefits

Volume Licensing is a Microsoft program designed for organizations that need multiple copies of software. It provides a cost-effective and simplified way to manage software licenses.

Cost Savings

  • Bulk Discounts: Volume Licensing offers significant discounts for bulk purchases, reducing the overall cost of software.
  • Budget Efficiency: Helps organizations allocate resources more effectively by spreading the cost over time.

Simplified Management

  • Centralized Control: Allows for easier tracking and management of software licenses through a single platform.
  • Ease of Deployment: Simplifies the process of deploying software across multiple devices within the organization.

Types of Volume Licensing

Open License

Overview: The Open License program is designed for small to mid-sized businesses. It provides a flexible and affordable way to purchase Microsoft software.

Target Audience:

  • Small to mid-sized businesses that require a straightforward licensing solution.

Key Benefits:

  • Flexibility: Businesses can start with a minimum number of licenses and add more as needed.
  • Affordability: Offers an affordable entry point for businesses to access necessary software without large upfront costs.

Enterprise Agreement (EA)

Overview: The Enterprise Agreement (EA) is tailored for large enterprises with over 500 users or devices. It offers extensive benefits and services, making it suitable for organizations with complex IT needs.

Target Audience:

  • Large enterprises that require comprehensive software solutions and support.

Key Benefits:

  • Extensive Benefits: Includes access to the latest software versions, training, and support services.
  • Cost-Effective: Provides significant discounts for bulk purchases, making it a cost-effective solution for large-scale operations.
  • Scalability: Easily adaptable to accommodate the changing needs of large enterprises.

Select Plus

Overview: Select Plus is designed for larger organizations with complex needs. It offers flexible purchasing options, allowing organizations to spread out costs and manage multiple licenses effectively.

Target Audience:

  • Larger organizations that need a scalable and manageable licensing solution.

Key Benefits:

  • Flexible Purchasing Options: Allows organizations to purchase licenses as needed, without large upfront investments.
  • Simplified Management: Provides tools for managing multiple licenses across various departments.
  • Global Reach: Suitable for organizations with a global presence, offering consistent licensing solutions across multiple locations.

Subscription Licensing Programs

Subscription Licensing Programs

Definition and Benefits

Subscription Licensing allows organizations to pay for software over time, typically on a monthly or annual basis.

This model is particularly beneficial for businesses that prefer financial flexibility and access to the latest software updates and support.

Pay Over Time

  • Financial Flexibility: Spreads the cost of software over manageable periods, making it easier to budget for IT expenses.
  • Predictable Costs: Provides a predictable expense model, aiding in financial planning and stability.

Regular Updates and Support

  • Continuous Updates: Ensures access to the latest software features, security patches, and improvements, keeping the organization’s software up-to-date.
  • Comprehensive Support: Includes technical support and services, assisting with any issues that arise and ensuring smooth operation.

Key Subscription Licenses

Microsoft 365

Overview: Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive subscription service that combines Office applications, cloud services, and advanced security features.

Features:

  • Office Apps: Access to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other Office applications.
  • Cloud Services: Includes OneDrive for cloud storage, Microsoft Teams for collaboration, and other cloud-based services.
  • Security: Offers robust security features to protect data and manage user access.

Target Audience:

  • Businesses of All Sizes: Suitable for small startups to large enterprises, offering various plans tailored to different business needs.

Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)

Overview: EMS is an advanced suite of security and management tools designed to protect corporate data and manage user access.

Features:

  • Identity and Access Management: Ensures secure access to resources with tools like Azure Active Directory.
  • Threat Protection: Provides advanced threat detection and response capabilities.
  • Information Protection: Helps safeguard sensitive information through encryption and rights management.

Target Audience:

  • Organizations Needing Enhanced Security: Suitable for businesses that require robust security and management solutions to protect their data and infrastructure.

Windows Enterprise E3/E5

Overview: Windows Enterprise E3 and E5 are subscription licenses that offer advanced security features and productivity tools for businesses.

Features:

  • Advanced Security: Includes features like Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and BitLocker encryption.
  • Productivity Tools: Enhances productivity with tools such as Microsoft Edge, Windows Autopilot, and more.
  • Management: Provides comprehensive device and application management capabilities.

Target Audience:

  • Businesses Focused on Security and Productivity: Suitable for organizations that require advanced security measures and tools to enhance productivity and manage their IT environment effectively.
Perpetual Licensing Programs

Perpetual Licensing Programs

Definition and Benefits

Perpetual Licensing involves a one-time purchase that grants the organization indefinite use of the software.

This model is ideal for businesses that prefer to own their software outright and avoid ongoing subscription fees.

One-Time Purchase Model

  • Upfront Cost: A single payment provides long-term access to the software, eliminating the need for recurring payments.
  • Budget Predictability: Helps in long-term financial planning as the cost is a single expenditure.

Indefinite Software Usage

  • No Expiration: Use the software as long as needed without worrying about license renewal.
  • Stable Environment: Ideal for organizations that prefer not to deal with frequent updates or changes to software versions.

Popular Perpetual Licenses

Office 2019

Overview: Office 2019 is a one-time purchase version of Microsoft Office, offering the classic Office applications that users are familiar with.

Features:

  • Classic Applications: Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other essential Office tools.
  • No Subscription: One-time payment grants indefinite use without the need for ongoing subscription fees.
  • Stability: Provides a stable environment with features that do not change over time, making it easier for users to adapt.

Target Audience:

  • Businesses Preferring One-Time Purchase: Ideal for businesses that want to avoid ongoing costs and prefer the stability of a perpetual license.

Windows Server

Overview: Windows Server is a robust server operating system that provides comprehensive management capabilities for networked environments.

Features:

  • Server Management: Offers powerful tools for managing server infrastructure, including Active Directory, DHCP, and DNS services.
  • Scalability: Suitable for various business sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises.
  • Reliability: Ensures a stable and secure environment for hosting applications, databases, and websites.

Target Audience:

  • Organizations with In-House Servers: Businesses that require a reliable server solution for managing network resources and applications without ongoing subscription costs.
Specialized Licensing Programs

Specialized Licensing Programs

Academic Licensing

Microsoft offers specialized licensing terms specifically tailored for educational institutions.

These programs are designed to provide schools, colleges, and universities with the software and tools they need to support learning and administration at reduced costs.

Special Terms for Educational Institutions

  • Discounted Pricing: Educational institutions receive significant discounts on Microsoft products.
  • Broad Accessibility: Ensures that students, faculty, and staff have access to essential software tools.

Programs: Microsoft Education Solutions, Office 365 Education

  • Microsoft Education Solutions:
    • Comprehensive suite of tools designed to support educational activities.
    • Includes applications like Microsoft Teams for Education, OneNote, and other collaborative tools.
    • Offers cloud services to facilitate remote learning and administrative management.
  • Office 365 Education:
    • Provides students and educators with free access to Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
    • Includes cloud storage through OneDrive and collaboration tools through Microsoft Teams.
    • Ensures students have the same tools used by professionals, preparing them for future careers.

Benefits: Reduced Costs, Enhanced Learning Tools

  • Reduced Costs: Significant discounts on software reduce the financial burden on educational institutions.
  • Enhanced Learning Tools: Access to cutting-edge technology and collaboration tools enhances the learning experience for students and improves efficiency for educators.

Nonprofit Licensing

Microsoft’s nonprofit licensing program offers discounted licenses to eligible nonprofit organizations.

This program helps nonprofits access essential technology and tools at a fraction of the cost, enabling them to focus more resources on their missions.

Discounted Licenses for Eligible Nonprofits

  • Cost Savings: Provides substantial discounts on a wide range of Microsoft products.
  • Support for Mission: Helps nonprofits leverage technology to enhance their operations and services.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Recognition as a Charitable Organization: Nonprofits must be recognized as charitable entities in their respective countries.
  • Mission to Benefit the Community: Organizations must have a mission that benefits the broader community, such as providing social services, supporting education, or promoting cultural activities.

Benefits: Access to Essential Software at Reduced Prices

  • Microsoft 365 Nonprofit: Offers access to Office applications, email, file storage, and collaboration tools at reduced prices.
  • Azure Nonprofit: Provides cloud services that help nonprofits build, deploy, and manage applications efficiently.
  • Training and Support: Free and discounted training resources to help staff and volunteers make the most of the software.
Choosing the Right Licensing Program

Choosing the Right Licensing Program

Factors to Consider

Organizational Size and Needs

  • Small to Mid-Sized Businesses: Require flexible and affordable licensing options that can grow with the business.
  • Large Enterprises: Need comprehensive solutions with extensive benefits, such as volume discounts and advanced support services.
  • Specific Industry Requirements: Consider any industry-specific needs that might influence the type of licenses required.

Budget Constraints

  • Initial Costs vs. Ongoing Costs: Determine whether a one-time purchase or a subscription model fits better within the budget.
  • Cost Savings Opportunities: Look for volume discounts, educational discounts, or nonprofit pricing to optimize spending.

Future Growth and Scalability

  • Scalability: Choose a licensing model that allows for easy expansion as the organization grows.
  • Long-Term Planning: Consider future software needs and potential changes in the organizational structure that might impact licensing requirements.

Guidelines for Selection

Small to Mid-Sized Businesses

  • Open License: Offers flexibility and affordability, allowing businesses to start with a minimum number of licenses and add more as needed.
  • Microsoft 365: Provides a comprehensive suite of tools, including Office apps, cloud services, and security features, on a subscription basis, making it suitable for businesses that prefer spreading out costs.

Large Enterprises

  • Enterprise Agreement (EA): Ideal for large organizations with over 500 users or devices. It offers significant discounts, comprehensive coverage, and the flexibility to adjust licenses as needs change.
  • Select Plus: Provides flexible purchasing options, making it suitable for larger organizations that require scalable and manageable licensing solutions.

Educational Institutions

  • Academic Licensing: Microsoft Education Solutions and Office 365 Education offer discounted and free access to essential tools, enhancing the educational experience for students and staff.
  • Microsoft 365 for Education: Provides access to the latest Office applications, collaboration tools, and cloud services tailored for the educational sector.

Nonprofit Organizations

  • Nonprofit Licensing: Eligible nonprofits can access discounted licenses through Microsoft’s nonprofit program. This includes products like Microsoft 365 Nonprofit and Azure Nonprofit, which provide essential tools at reduced prices.
  • Eligibility Considerations: Ensure the organization meets the specific criteria set by Microsoft for nonprofit licensing to take full advantage of the discounts and benefits.
Managing Microsoft Licenses

Managing Microsoft Licenses

Tools and Resources

Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)

  • License Management: Centralized platform for viewing and managing all volume licenses.
  • Software Downloads: Authorized users can download software directly from VLSC, ensuring they have access to the latest versions.
  • Agreement Renewals: Simplifies the process of managing and renewing licensing agreements, avoiding lapses in compliance.

Microsoft License Advisor

  • Cost Estimation: Provides cost estimates for different licensing scenarios, helping organizations plan their budgets effectively.
  • Option Comparison: Allows organizations to compare different licensing programs and their features side by side.
  • Quote Generation: Helps generate detailed quotes tailored to the organization’s specific requirements, aiding in budgeting and approval processes.
Compliance and Audits

Compliance and Audits

Importance of Compliance

Legal Use of Software

  • Adherence to Agreements: Ensures that all software is used in accordance with Microsoft’s licensing terms and conditions.
  • Legal Protection: Using licensed software protects the organization from legal issues that may arise from using unlicensed or pirated software.

Avoiding Penalties

  • Financial Consequences: Non-compliance can lead to substantial fines and penalties.
  • Reputational Risk: Organizations found to be using unlicensed software may suffer reputational damage, affecting their trustworthiness and credibility.

Software Asset Management (SAM)

Tracking and Managing Licenses

  • Inventory Management: SAM helps keep an accurate inventory of all software licenses, ensuring that the organization knows exactly what it owns and uses.
  • Usage Monitoring: Tracks how software is used across the organization, helping to identify any instances of overuse or underuse.

Benefits of SAM

  • Cost Optimization: Identifies unused or underutilized licenses, allowing organizations to reallocate or discontinue them, thereby saving costs.
  • Compliance Assurance: Regular audits and checks ensure that the organization remains compliant with all licensing agreements.
  • Improved Planning: Provides insights into software needs, helping with future planning and budgeting.

Handling Audits

Preparing for Microsoft Audits

  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all software licenses, purchases, and deployments.
  • Internal Audits: Conduct regular internal audits to ensure all software usage aligns with licensing agreements.
  • SAM Implementation: Utilize Software Asset Management practices to maintain accurate records and streamline the audit process.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

  • Fines and Penalties: Non-compliance can result in significant financial penalties and fines imposed by Microsoft.
  • Legal Action: Severe cases of non-compliance may lead to legal action, including lawsuits and settlements.
  • Reputational Damage: Being found non-compliant can damage the organization’s reputation, affecting business relationships and customer trust.
Case Studies

Case Studies

Real-Life Examples

Large Multinational Corporation Using Enterprise Agreement

  • Context: A multinational corporation with over 10,000 employees across various countries utilizes the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) to manage its software needs.
  • Benefits: Significant discounts on volume purchases, flexibility to adjust licenses as needed, and comprehensive coverage with access to the latest software updates and support services.

Small Business Using Open License

  • Context: A small manufacturing company with 100 employees uses the Microsoft Open License program to manage its software licenses.
  • Benefits: Affordable entry point, flexibility to purchase additional licenses as the company grows, and simplified license management through a centralized platform.

Educational Institution Leveraging Academic Licensing

  • Context: A university with multiple campuses adopts Microsoft Education Solutions to provide students and faculty with essential software tools.
  • Benefits: Enhanced learning experience with Office 365 Education, significant cost savings on software, and access to collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams for Education.

Nonprofit Organization Utilizing Nonprofit Licensing

  • Context: A global nonprofit organization focuses on humanitarian aid and uses Microsoft Nonprofit Licensing to access vital software at reduced prices.
  • Benefits: Substantial discounts on Microsoft products, enhanced operations with tools like Microsoft 365 Nonprofit, and more funds allocated to direct relief efforts.
Top 10 Real-Life Examples of the Use of Microsoft Licensing Programs

Top 10 Real-Life Examples of the Use of Microsoft Licensing Programs

1. Large Financial Institution: Enterprise Agreement

Use Case

A multinational bank with over 10,000 employees uses the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) to manage its software licenses across various branches globally.

Benefits

  • Cost Savings: Significant discounts on bulk software purchases.
  • Flexibility: Ability to adjust licenses as the number of employees changes.
  • Comprehensive Support: Access to the latest software updates and dedicated support services.

2. Mid-Sized Manufacturing Company: Open License

Use Case

A mid-sized manufacturing company with 200 employees uses the Microsoft Open License program to manage its software needs.

Benefits

  • Affordability: Cost-effective entry point for essential software.
  • Flexibility: Ability to purchase additional licenses as the company grows.
  • Simplified Management: Centralized license tracking and management.

3. University: Academic Licensing

Use Case

A university with multiple campuses adopts Microsoft Education Solutions to provide software tools to students and faculty.

Benefits

  • Reduced Costs: Significant discounts on educational software.
  • Enhanced Learning: Access to Office 365 Education and collaboration tools.
  • Broad Accessibility: Students and staff can use professional-grade software.

4. Nonprofit Organization: Nonprofit Licensing

Use Case

A global nonprofit dedicated to disaster relief utilizes Microsoft 365 Nonprofit to coordinate efforts across various regions.

Benefits

  • Cost Savings: Substantial discounts on Microsoft products.
  • Enhanced Operations: Access to tools like Microsoft 365 for better project management.
  • Support for Mission: More funds allocated to direct relief efforts.

5. Healthcare Provider: Microsoft 365 Subscription

Use Case

A healthcare provider with multiple clinics subscribes to Microsoft 365 to ensure that all staff have access to the latest software and collaboration tools.

Benefits

  • Regular Updates: Continuous access to the latest software features and security patches.
  • Improved Collaboration: Tools like Microsoft Teams enhance communication among staff.
  • Budget-Friendly: Subscription model allows for predictable, manageable expenses.

6. Government Agency: Enterprise Agreement

Use Case

A national government agency responsible for public infrastructure uses the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement to standardize its IT infrastructure.

Benefits

  • Standardization: Consistent software versions across all departments.
  • Advanced Security: Access to the latest security features and updates.
  • Comprehensive Support: Includes extensive support services from Microsoft.

7. Tech Startup: Microsoft 365 Subscription

Use Case

A rapidly growing tech startup subscribes to Microsoft 365 to provide its team with essential software and collaboration tools.

Benefits

  • Scalability: Easily add or remove licenses as the team changes.
  • Collaboration Tools: Microsoft Teams and OneDrive enhance teamwork.
  • Cost Management: Subscription model spreads costs over time.

8. Retail Chain: Open License

Use Case

A retail chain with 50 stores across the country uses the Microsoft Open License program to equip its point-of-sale systems and office computers.

Benefits

  • Flexibility: Licenses can be purchased as new stores open.
  • Centralized Management: Simplifies tracking and managing licenses.
  • Affordability: Cost-effective licensing for growing business needs.

9. Legal Firm: Microsoft 365 and EMS

Use Case

A law firm specializing in corporate law subscribes to Microsoft 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) to manage its IT needs securely.

Benefits

  • Enhanced Security: Advanced security features protect sensitive client data.
  • Productivity Tools: Access to Office applications and collaboration tools.
  • Remote Access: EMS allows secure access to data from anywhere.

10. Educational Nonprofit: Academic and Nonprofit Licensing

Use Case

An educational nonprofit organization combines academic and nonprofit licensing to provide tools to both its staff and the schools it supports.

Benefits

  • Cost Savings: Discounts available for both educational and nonprofit sectors.
  • Enhanced Services: Access to Office 365 Education for schools and Microsoft 365 Nonprofit for staff.
  • Resource Allocation: More funds can be directed towards educational programs.

FAQ: Microsoft Licensing Programs

What are Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs?

Volume Licensing programs are designed for organizations needing multiple copies of software. They offer cost savings through bulk purchasing and simplify license management. Options include Open License for small to mid-sized businesses, Enterprise Agreement for large enterprises, and Select Plus for larger organizations with complex needs.

Who should consider Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is suitable for businesses of all sizes, offering a comprehensive suite of Office applications, cloud services, and security features. It provides a subscription model that ensures regular updates and support, making it ideal for organizations looking for flexible and scalable solutions.

What is the benefit of Perpetual Licensing?

Perpetual Licensing involves a one-time purchase that grants indefinite use of the software. This model is beneficial for organizations that prefer to own their software outright and avoid ongoing subscription fees, ensuring stable and long-term access to essential tools.

How does Academic Licensing work?

Academic Licensing provides special terms for educational institutions, offering discounted or free access to tools like Office 365 Education. This program supports schools, colleges, and universities by providing technology that enhances learning and administration at reduced costs.

What is Nonprofit Licensing?

Nonprofit Licensing offers discounted licenses to eligible nonprofit organizations. This program helps nonprofits access essential Microsoft software at reduced prices, allowing them to focus more resources on their missions while benefiting from advanced technological tools.

How do I choose the right Microsoft license for my business?

Consider factors such as organizational size, specific needs, budget constraints, and future growth. Small businesses may benefit from Open License or Microsoft 365, while large enterprises might prefer Enterprise Agreement or Select Plus. Educational and nonprofit organizations should explore specialized licensing options.

What is the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)?

The VLSC is a tool for managing volume licenses. It allows organizations to view and manage their licenses, download software, and renew agreements, providing centralized control over licensing assets and ensuring compliance with licensing terms.

What does the Microsoft License Advisor do?

The Microsoft License Advisor helps organizations determine the best licensing options by providing cost estimates, comparing different programs, and generating detailed quotes for budgeting purposes. It simplifies the decision-making process for selecting appropriate licenses.

Why is compliance with Microsoft licensing important?

Compliance ensures the legal use of software and helps avoid penalties. Using licensed software protects organizations from fines, legal actions, and reputational damage associated with using unlicensed software, ensuring smooth and lawful operation.

What is Software Asset Management (SAM)?

Software Asset Management (SAM) involves tracking and managing software licenses to ensure compliance and optimize usage. SAM helps organizations maintain accurate records, reduce costs, and prepare for audits, providing better control over software assets.

How can I prepare for a Microsoft audit?

Maintain detailed records of all software licenses, conduct regular internal audits, and implement Software Asset Management (SAM) practices. Being well-prepared helps ensure a smooth audit process and compliance with Microsoft licensing agreements.

What happens if my organization is non-compliant?

Non-compliance can result in significant penalties, including fines and legal action. It can also damage the organization’s reputation, affecting business relationships and customer trust. Ensuring compliance is crucial to avoid these consequences.

What are the key features of Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 includes Office applications, cloud services like OneDrive and Teams, and advanced security features. It supports collaboration, productivity, and data protection for businesses of all sizes, offering a flexible subscription model.

What is Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)?

EMS is an advanced suite of security and management tools. It includes identity and access management, threat protection, and information security, designed to protect corporate data and manage user access, making it ideal for organizations needing enhanced security.

What are the benefits of using Windows Server?

Windows Server provides robust server management capabilities, including Active Directory, DHCP, and DNS services. It offers a reliable environment for hosting applications, databases, and websites, ensuring stability and security for in-house server needs.

How does Office 2019 differ from Microsoft 365?

Office 2019 is a one-time purchase that includes classic Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that offers the latest versions of these applications, along with cloud services and regular updates.

How can I determine if my organization qualifies for nonprofit licensing?

Check Microsoft’s eligibility criteria for nonprofit licensing. Typically, organizations must be recognized as charitable entities in their respective countries and have missions that benefit the broader community, such as providing social services, supporting education, or promoting cultural activities.