March, 2013

  • Webinar: What Nonprofit Executive Staff Need to Know About Social Media

    The foundation of a successful online communications and fundraising campaign is built upon a well-designed, well-written website and e-newsletter, as well as a clear understanding of how social media has fundamentally changed how organizations engage and inspire supporters and donors.

    The content of this webinar is specifically tailored for executive staff in the nonprofit sector, particularly those who may be skeptical or unclear of the value of social media.

    The webinar will:

    • Demonstrate the value of social media to increase online fundraising and online brand recognition.
    • Discuss how much time successful social media communications require and consequently highlight the need to modify job descriptions of development and communications staff.
    • Illuminate how social media success requires professional experience or training in online communications and fundraising.
    • Put forward a minimal budget to be successful on the Social Web.
    • Examine the need to create a social media policy.
    • Present a system to track Return on Investment (ROI).
    • Discuss the urgent need to prepare for the Mobile Web.

    Join us for this FREE webinar on Thursday, 2 May, at 9:00 AM, Singapore time.

    Register today!

    This webinar series is being delivered by Heather Mansfield, founder of DIOSA Communications and the NonprofitOrgs Blog, as part of Microsoft Citizenship’s regional Tech4Good programme.

  • YouthSpark Profile: Joshua Sim

    This is part of a series of YouthSpark profiles where we highlight young people in Asia who are dedicated to changing the world through technology, and inspiring others along the way.






    Joshua Sim excelled in the Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals, the world’s premier student technology competition, being the only polytechnic student to finish in the top three of the competition. The second-year student at the School of Information Technology, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) in Singapore, plans to pursue his interest in cloud computing and use technology innovations to address some of the world’s leading social challenges. Joshua believes in contributing to the community, especially through improving the quality of life for senior citizens, and spends his weekends volunteering at residential homes for the elderly. Most recently, he helped the residents of an elderly care center in Singapore lead a more active lifestyle.

    Tell us one exciting thing that you have been working on in the past 3 – 6 months.
    My friends and I are currently working on a project that manages vehicular traffic for the city. We plan to realize this through IPv6 — the latest version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the primary communications protocol upon which the entire Internet is built. By leveraging the benefits of IPv6, we aim to create applications for real-time analytics and congestion management. We see this as a good opportunity to learn and experience how we could alleviate real world problems through innovation and IT.

    What are some of the challenges facing youth today that concern you the most?
    Young people today often find their sense of creativity stifled, having been burdened with too much stress and academic pressure in their formative years to enjoy their childhood. To me, this is a major concern as I believe that creativity and innovative ideas are essential to the development of new products and services to drive economic advancements.

    If you had the ability to create one change in the world, what would that be and how can technology help you achieve this change?
    I would ensure that there is Internet connectivity available in every home. Studies have shown a strong correlation between Internet access and economic growth, as the Internet not only connects people but is also a great avenue for knowledge and innovation. Overcoming the digital divide around the world would be a positive step for humanity and progress.

    I aspire to... learn something new every day. With the knowledge gained, I want to help the world progress.

  • Six Ways Nonprofits Can Use Skype

    Skype is an amazing technology. Anyone who travels regularly or who has long-distance friends and family and uses Skype to keep in touch understands that regular video chats can erase the miles instantaneously. With more than 245 million users worldwide, Skype is connecting families, business communities and the nonprofit sector in ways that are transforming our relationships, our work days and our ability to foster social good in the world. All that said, nonprofits may not be fully aware of how Skype technology works or how extensive its tool set is.

    Heather Mansfield from DIOSA Communications and founder of the NonProfitOrgs Blog shares six ways nonprofits can use Skype to improve communications and fundraising.

    1) Free one-on-one video chats or calls.

    As long as both parties have installed Skype (for desktop, mobile or TV), a nonprofit can make unlimited video calls. For example, Skype can be used for regular check-ins with staff who work remotely, board members or funders. Nonprofits could also use Skype to interview prospective staff or volunteers. Technically, it's worth noting that the video and audio portion of the chats are streamed through the Internet and thus no phone service is required. Attendees will need video cameras and microphones installed on their computers, mobile devices and Internet TVs to enable video chats, however, video is not required for Skype calls. You could simply have a one-on-one conversation via Skype with cameras tuned off.

    2) To make inexpensive international calls.

    By purchasing Skype Credits, nonprofits can call any phone number (landline or mobile) in the world at extremely low rates. This is transformational for nonprofits and foundations that work in international development. If Internet access is poor in remote areas making the free Skype video chats or calls difficult, using Skype Credits to call mobile phones and landlines directly keeps the lines of communication open which is especially crucial
    during times of crisis.

    3) To send inexpensive international text messages.

    Many nonprofits - particularly those in developing nations - use text messaging as their primary method of communication, however, texting internationally can very expensive for both parties. By using Skype Credits, nonprofits can send text messages at very low rates to one individual or up to 50. In a perfect world, foundations that make grants internationally would include $250 in funding annually with each grant for Skype Credits and Skype Premium.

    4) To host group video meetings.

    The free version of Skype enables group calls (no video), but to host group video meetings you must upgrade to Skype Premium. Rates start at $4.99 USD a month and when purchased annually the fees are heavily discounted. Group video meetings can be used for volunteer training, staff meetings, board meetings or to report back to funders. The video service allows up to 10 attendees, while group conference calls with audio only can accommodate up to 25 people. Quite often communications are lacking in the nonprofit sector due to long distances and lack of funding, but Skype Premium is an exceptionally affordable service that can instantaneously improve staff and board relationships and strengthen donor's personal connections to your nonprofit's work and achievements.

    5) To present group webinars.

    Imagine being able to pitch a foundation for funding from 10,000 miles away. Or share financials and fundraising strategies to board members in real-time no matter where they are located. How about training volunteers on how to be activists for your organization? Skype Premium also enables screen sharing during group video meetings (maximum of 10 attendees).

    6) To present tours of your facility to current and prospective funders.

    If your nonprofit has a smartphone or tablet, you can easily use Skype to present real-time tours of your office, your facilities and your community. A simple flip of the camera can broadcast live any setting, any picture, any event. You have the technology to transform the way your nonprofit communicates and raises funds literally in the palm of your hand.

    Skype makes it easy for your nonprofit to connect with beneficiaries, donors, partners, staff and board members.

  • International Women's Day Celebrated in Song

    In celebration of International Women's Day, 8 March 2013, Microsoft is proud to join UN Women to launch a moving and inspiring song and music video, ‘One Woman’. It celebrates what we all know: to enable the future we want, we must recognize the enormous potential of half of the world’s population – women.

    The song is a rallying cry that inspires listeners to join the drive for women's rights and gender equality. 'One Woman' was written for UN Women, the global champion for women and girls worldwide, to celebrate its mission and work to improve women's lives around the world.

    From China to Costa Rica, from Mali to Malaysia acclaimed singers and musicians, women and men, have come together to spread a message of unity and solidarity: We are 'One Woman'.

    This year, International Women’s Day focuses on ending violence against women — a gross human rights violation that affects up to 7 in 10 women and a top priority for UN Women. As commemorations are underway in all corners of the globe, 'One Woman' reminds us that together, we can overcome violence and discrimination: "We Shall Shine!" Join us to help spread the word and enjoy this musical celebration of women worldwide.

  • Microsoft & ADB Co-Host Philippines NGO Connection Day

    On 1 March, Microsoft Philippines partnered with the Asian Development Bank to host the ADB’s Staff Community Fund NGO partners at an NGO Connection Day in Manila. The event is one of many activities offered through Microsoft’s Tech4Good program for the nonprofit sector, which helps organisations better understand, use and implement technology.

    The Asian Development Bank’s Staff Community Fund NGO participants at Microsoft’s NGO Connection Day in Manila

    The NGO Connection Day featured Microsoft speakers who delivered presentations on government and civil society, trends in technology, social media, Microsoft resources for the NGO sector as well as training on Windows 8 and the new Office

    The NGOs in attendance were happy to learn about new technology available to them through Microsoft’s software donation programme offered by TechSoup Asia as well as to network with each other. “It’s good to go out and meet other NGOs that share the same advocacy as us,” said Haydee Sofranes, Finance and Administrative Officer, DCHFI – Stepping Stone. 

    Abegail Canis, Administrative Officer from Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation, added: “Very good event; topics are relevant and speakers are very knowledgeable.”

    Participants receiving training on the new Office

    Microsoft’s Citizenship team and the ADB’s NGO & Civil Society Center have worked together since 2010 to support NGO capacity building across Asia Pacific, including programmes in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and have co-presented on the Microsoft/ADB partnership at external events like the CIVICUS World
    . Microsoft’s NGO partners have featured prominently at the ADB’s Annual Meeting since 2011. 

    To find out about upcoming NGO Connection Days in your market, subscribe to our Tech4Good e-newsletter here.

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