a flash memory drive inserted into the side of a laptop, representing the usb memory direct donation program for nonprofits

Memory Chips and the USB Memory Direct Program: a Useful Update

With the USB Memory Direct Program at TechSoup, your nonprofit can request discounted USB flash drives, complete with a custom imprint on them.


Because the current program differs somewhat from the previous program we had with USB Memory Direct, we thought we'd take a moment to provide an update. We'll answer some FAQ and explain why the savings you'll find here will vary because of factors beyond the control of TechSoup or USB Memory Direct. The small memory chip inside each drive is the biggest variable in pricing. Read below to learn more about how this chip impacts this program.

Special USB Flash Drive Offers for Nonprofits

You'll find two special offers in this program:

1. Access to discounted rates for up to 500 imprinted USB flash drives: $15 admin fee

2. Access to discounted rates for up to 2,500 imprinted USB flash drives: $35 admin fee

Through both offers, USB Memory Direct offers USB flash drives in a variety of styles, materials, colors, and capacities. USB Memory Direct will imprint the drives with an image or text that you supply. See the USB Memory Direct Program pages for more details.

The discount percentage depends on several factors, including fluctuations in the flash memory chip market. For drives with capacities smaller than 32 GB, the discount will be a minimum of 20 percent. The discount for larger drives is more likely to change along with current market factors, so a minimum discount cannot be guaranteed.

The offer includes imprinting services and a lifetime warranty. After you request this offer through TechSoup, you'll pay USB Memory Direct directly for any discounted products you purchase.

FAQ About the USB Memory Direct Program

illustration of different sizes and colors of usb drives, representing the diversity of options available to nonprofits through the usb memory direct donation program at techsoup

Why do memory chip prices change so frequently?

The chips inside USB flash drives are like a commodity, and the price manufacturers pay for them fluctuates with supply and demand. When the production of flash memory chips does not keep up with market demand, the chip prices increase. Conversely, when production exceeds demand, the chip prices typically decrease. In turn, the cost of USB flash drives tends to rise and fall with these fluctuations.

Right now, demand for flash memory chips is high, which has caused prices to increase.

Why is the demand so much greater than the supply?

Demand is high primarily because in this world of the Internet of Things, most intelligent devices require memory chips. For example, every smartphone uses flash memory for data storage, as do many other devices such as smartwatches.

Computer makers are also shifting from producing computers that use traditional spinning-disk hard drives to those that use flash memory.

In addition, flash memory chip production is transitioning from the current "2D" chips to the new "3D" chips that can read and write data up to three times faster than 2D chips. Producers moving to this faster product have run into manufacturing delays, which has increased demand for — and therefore, the prices of — these 3D chips.

What does this mean for me as an ordering nonprofit?

USB Memory Direct is dedicated to reviewing these prices for our nonprofit users and helping you understand your best values and savings whenever you request discounted drives from this program. However, your per-unit price may vary depending upon when you make a request.

If you request access to this program, USB Memory Direct will make sure you have an advisor available to you who can walk you through these issues.

You can also request an estimate from USB Memory Direct to get a better idea of the current prices. You do not need to request access to the USB Memory Direct program through TechSoup in order to get a price estimate from USB Memory Direct.

Please note that these savings will only be available after you request access to the USB Memory Direct program on the TechSoup site.

What if I need more than 2,500 drives?

For more than 2,500 drives, please write to businessdevelopment [at] techsoupglobal [dot] org for assistance.


Additional Resources: Hardware for Nonprofits