Corporate Social Responsibility

Product Grant Guidelines

Cisco’s Product Grant Program accepts applications year-round from qualified charitable organizations to improve their programs' scalability, replicability, sustainability, cost efficiency, and overall productivity.

Quarterly Review

The Customized Connectivity Grant Program accepts proposals on an ongoing, year-round basis. However, grants are reviewed on a quarterly cycle, and a proposal must be submitted within the first month of a quarter to be considered for that funding cycle. Applicants should plan at least three months for grant review plus additional time for product shipments.


Q1: August-October

Q2: November-January

Q3: February-April

Q4: May-July

Grant Amounts

The maximum request amount for first-time grant recipients is US$50,000 (list price) of equipment. Requests under $25,000 are reviewed and fulfilled by our partner TechSoup. If you require equipment above the TechSoup limit or if the equipment you require is not offered, then you may apply for a Customized Connectivity Grant.

Innovative Use of Internet and Communications Technology

Ideal grantees take full advantage of Cisco's rich asset mix and end-to-end strategic thinking, using technology and ingenuity to bring about order-of-magnitude improvements. We look for how organizations will use technology to better address their mission or the mission of other nonprofits; expand their service to more clients or provide additional services at a similar costs; provide technology access to underserved populations or nonprofits who do.

Equipment Information

  • Organizations are responsible for selecting appropriate Cisco products; the product grant team may provide limited assistance.
  • Small Business or Home Networking equipment, Webex and similar subscription services are not available as Product Grants. 
  • Advanced technologies such as  Voice over IP, advanced security, or high end UCS servers require a Cisco-certified individual to install and maintain them. Cisco will not grant funds to pay for installation or design. (To find a Cisco Certified Partner, go to the Partner Locater, click Advanced Search, select "IP Communications" or "IP Communications Express" under Technology Specialization.)
  • As a green company, Cisco designed the Product Grant Program as a Closed Loop System. Donated Cisco products that are no longer useful or have reached their end of life must be returned through Product Takeback and Recycle.

Registration, Approval, Product Delivery

  • Registration: Notification that Cisco received your application will be sent via email within 72 hours. Incomplete applications will be returned to you.
  • Approval: Cisco will notify you by the end of the quarter of either approval or denial.
  • Product Delivery:  Delivery is bound to lead times of manufacturing. In most cases, products will be delivered within 90 days of date of approval. All product donations are subject to change or delay without notice.
  • Expediting of Orders: The Product Grant Program cannot expedite order requests for equipment. Please keep this in mind when considering your grant submission, fulfillment and deployment timeline.

Maintenance and Support

Cisco Product Grant Program includes five free years of Cisco's SMARTnet support service or similar. For questions related to accessing your SMARTnet Support go to SMARTnet Support FAQ.

Metrics and Measurement for Successful Grant Proposals

Cisco gives highest priority to proposals that clearly articulate the planned impact of their efforts, as well as the metrics by which the impact is measured.

Operational Success: How operations would improve as a result of the grant. The data should be expressed as projected cost savings or increased revenue ($) to demonstrate efficiency and productivity gains in your operations. Examples:

  • A decrease in the inputs needed for your operations to deliver the same or higher level of service. Examples: hours needed to perform routine tasks; personnel costs, including FTE wages; consulting fees; or other expenditures relevant to your organization.
  • An increase in the outputs of your organization with the same or lower amount of inputs. Examples: the number of clients served, units of service delivered, or a broadening of geographic scope.

Mission Success: How your organization can increase its reach and impact as a result of the grant. Examples:

  • An increase in the number of services you provide to your existing customers, which was constrained due to the lack of technological capacity. This could be a new program or the expansion of an existing program for that population.
  • An increase in the types of customers that you serve, which could not be done without better or new equipment, such as extending an existing program to underserved clientele.
  • An increase in the quality of your services, which was suboptimal due to aging or unreliable equipment. You should be able to quantify the potential scale of improvement as a result of the grant.

Technology Success: Benefits derived from the equipment. Some indicators would include enhanced security, newfound scalability, or improved reliability of communications within your organization, with partners or other stakeholders. You can also describe related technological enhancements as a result of the grant.
In general, the larger the requested grant amount, the more measurements you will need to provide.

Sales Restrictions for Product Grants

Product Grants cannot be given to organizations that have purchased Cisco equipment within the last six months, or who plan to purchase Cisco equipment within the next six months.