back to article Amazon cuts credit for charities to access web services

Amazon has halved the amount of credit it offers charities to access IT services operated by Amazon Web Services, sources have told The Reg. The cloud wing of the megacorp has for several years offered a grant of $2,000 in AWS Promotional Credits to eligible non-profit organisations, brokered through a non-profit network …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge
    Devil

    Isn't this just bait'n'switch?

    "We continuously review and evolve these programs to ensure the right mix of offerings are in place to support our customers."

    That is business-speak for "We tweak the offerings to maximize your dependence and our profits."

    They grow their business but are not willing to scale the charity in the same way. So they become less charitable while they are getting bigger. First hook 'm on the charity free list, then lets squeeze the money pot. Isn't that a typical trait of a monopolist?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Isn't this just bait'n'switch?

      Isn't it interesting how it is always the megacorps raking money in by the tankerload who skimp at every opportunity ?

      1. b0llchit Silver badge

        Re: Isn't this just bait'n'switch?

        We should ask the question "How many and who got poor?" every time a "rich" person/corp is congratulated to his/her/its wealth.

        The perceived distribution of wealth is very much misaligned with reality. That is probably why we haven't many more revolutions to prevent these megacorps from coming into existence.

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Isn't this just bait'n'switch?

      They prefer to think of it as a "give back" take-back.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't this just bait'n'switch?

      Everything to do with any cloud service is essentially 'bait n switch'.

      Public Sector are clueless. The public sector needs to stop collecting endless streams of private information just because they can, because they are going to find out the hard way, there is a price per GB in terms of accessing it and storing it, when their budgets don't extend to the new contract pricing.

      We'll soon be paying the privilege of Governments knowing everything about our lives, through even higher CT bills and taxes.

      1. GrooveCat

        Re: Isn't this just bait'n'switch?

        behaving like every drug dealer. fist one is always free.....

  2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    So?

    Amazon is offerring £1000 of services to charities. As someone involved in charities, I have to decide whether to accept a donation of cash, goods or services. If not, for whatever reason, don't turn around and say "that isn't enough" ...

    1. TechnicalVault

      The ethics is about budgets and not telling people you've changed what you're giving

      It's the same as publicly announcing to a small charity you were going to give them £2000 a year and then turning around and only transferring £1000 one year without telling them you'd changed your mind. The charity is going to make their budget based on having £1000 more than they had and the deficit is going to come as a surprise. This means you've caused them to then make promises they now can't keep. Likely that deficit is going to come out of grants they cannot now make, and which if you had told the charity in advance, they would not have promised.

      Yeah it's your money, but there's right and a wrong way of going about things once you've made a commitment. The right thing to do is to be as public about changes to your donation as you were about the initial donation. All it will cost you is kudos but at least you can still have a good conscience.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: So?

      You need to improve your comprehension skills. Amazon is not offering £1000 to charities, it is offering half of what it had promised.

      Not the same boat.

      1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

        Re: So?

        I haven't looked into this in detail but reading the article it appears to me they have not "promised" anything. From the outset they made clear that is was not a "free service" but a grant, i.e. it has a fixed value and duration.

        Apply for a grant and are successful, congratulations, we will cover up to $2000 of our services over the next 12 months. There is no promise at the end of that period, it was never offered. Sure if the scheme still exists you can apply again but there's no guarantee you'll be successful or indeed as here the terms of the scheme won't have changed.

        Charitable giving is always a minefield for corporations, they can't write blank cheques even for gifts in kind as here - ultimately they are real services that cost real money to provide. Amazon have made some changes because they don't want to say "no" to as many applicants. They decide their own criteria for their benevolence, the fact they are a trillion dollar corporation makes them no different in that regard to you or me.

  3. Chris the bean counter

    Maybe

    My guess is most Charities have similar needs.

    Most or many often have lousy security and backups unfortunately as rely on volunteers and outdated tech.

    If AWS bolted together some open source browser based package with some easy customisations for modules for fundraising, charity commission reporting, clients etc and easy migrations from spreadsheets they would do charities a favour and be the go to solutions for all charities.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Bezos must need a bigger yacht then

    (through his stockholding)

    Most charities don't have lots of dosh so any reduction in this sort of thing could impact their operations. Scumbags!

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Bezos must need a bigger yacht then

      Bezos is way past yachts now, he needs a space rocket company just to dent his bank account.

    2. razzaDazza1234

      Re: Bezos must need a bigger yacht then

      "Most charities don't have lots of dosh so any reduction in this sort of thing could impact their operations. Scumbags!"

      Uh.. no. Almost all charities are money-making entities with fantastic tax breaks that bestow 'benevolence' upon those involved - maybe even a CBE.

      In the painful 2 years of work in that area, I discovered an arena worse than blue-chip corp. The greed was MUCH greater at a charity - and not just the biggies but all of them. Dirty, begging pitiful greed.

      Amazingly ungrateful. Poor payers. Terrible to work with. Don't give them an inch or they take 10miles. Scum cause at least blue-chip corp are honest about their work and intentions.

      1. clyde666

        Re: Bezos must need a bigger yacht then

        Have to say I have a lot of sympathy for what razzaDazza1234 says.

        A family member worked with a well known charity years ago to setup a new project. Very worthwhile, helpful for many people project.

        She did it as a volunteer, not only unpaid but also got lots of other people to contribute financially and practically.

        She got out after only a year or more. The politics was overwhelming. Both internal politics - ladder climbing, empire building, all the sort of stuff you expect in a local authority, but also party political stuff - croneyism, and outright blanking people who were known to have other viewpoints.

        She would get ignored during meetings, seldom any follow up with assistance.

        Indeed, look at the top of big charities. Massive salaries. International shoulder rubbing. And lots of party political shenanigans.

  5. IGotOut Silver badge

    I'm sorry...

    ... Having worked in a charity for year, and used Charity Digital (formally TT Exchange) then you should be 100% aware this can, and often does happen.

    Any half competent charity will know that things change every single year and you should allow for variations like this. It could be a local council funding, or a small or large business, very often with zero notice.

    They could of just as easily ended it or changed the qualification criteria, it's happened with loads of vendors before and no doubt will happen again.

    Yes it sucks, but I just want to put out they are not the first, or last to do this.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: I'm sorry...

      >... Having worked in a charity for year, and used Charity Digital (formally TT Exchange) then you should be 100% aware this can, and often does happen.

      You would also know that Charity Digital somehow manages to send out advanced warning that Microsoft are going to change their charity offer (its changing again this month). So I wonder what happened here; did users ignore the emails from Charity Digital or did Charity Digital not inform those charities that have had their order for the AWS donation request accepted.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "for services that they have now come to rely on."

    ... and that's the crux of it.

    Give a discount. Get them hooked. Raise the price.

    Mind you, charities using this should always have had contingency plans for such at outcome.

    1. Screepy

      I've been working in the charity sector for 10 years now, I can say that most of them do have contingency plans.

      I think the key gripe here is not that Amazon have cut funding in half but the fact that they appear to have done it without letting the charities know.

      Charities are well aware that funding ebbs and flows all the time. What would be nice is knowing in advance if a current deal is going to end/change - last minute shocks are what really hurt charities as most only keep a few weeks worth of cash to stay running (they can't be seen to store/save members money)

  7. matjaggard

    Azure have a much better offer

    The charity I'm involved with use Azure credits for IaaS (video editing works surprisingly well in the cloud) as well as Microsoft's Office 365 offer, we use Google Workspace for free too. Both of these are much but generous than the Amazon charlatans.

    1. Screepy

      Re: Azure have a much better offer

      Agreed. In the charity I currently work for, we review our main cloud supplier annually to check whether we need to jump ship.

      For the last 4 or 5 years Microsofts discounts have been slightly better than Google and way better than AWS. Even Rackspace (who currently appear to be slowly crumbling) are still able to provide better pricing than AWS.

  8. David Austin

    Just give it to them.

    In 2022, Amazon make Over $4,500 a second - While they are perfectly entitled to make this change, it's kinda crappy doing it without notice, and with those profit margins, you honestly don't need to do it (or indeed, even charge non-profits at all)

    The only reason the general population and governments let Amazon get away with the frankly terrible things they do is because they're convenient evil - it's in their best interest to keep appearing as a benevolent overlord.

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