Special thanks to Heather Mansfield, principal blogger at Nonprofit Tech 2.0. For the full list of 11 nonprofits from her original post, please go here.
When nonprofits launch, or consider launching, a smartphone app, most would first create an iPhone or Android app. While launching a third version of a smartphone app is rare, the release of Windows 8 in October 2012 for computers, tablets and Windows Phone, adding a third option to a nonprofit's suite of apps is becoming more common.
Here are a few examples of nonprofits pioneering apps for Windows Phone, placing them in a stellar position to reap the benefits of early adoption.
1. United Nations News App
2. Oxfam App
3. National Geographic Society App
Want to create an app for your nonprofit? Now's the time to take your great ideas and start creating apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT. The Windows Dev Center has all of the resources you need to create a Windows app and submit it to the Windows Store. You can download all of the necessary tools and software development kits (SDKs), view sample codes on how to plan and build great apps.
A visually compelling, square avatar is the basis upon which all successful social media campaigns are built.
Many nonprofits, however, do not have the financial resources to hire an avatar designer, nor do they realize the importance of a well-designed avatar. They simply upload their logo to social networking sites, which in many cases is a poor substitute for a specially created avatar.
Logos are primarily designed with a horizontal orientation, whereas avatars need to be square. When horizontal logos are uploaded to social networking sites they either get cropped to the point of illegibility or are shrunk to a size too small to read, reducing their visual impact.
Recognizing the need for better designed avatars in the nonprofit sector, Microsoft recently teamed up with Tyson Cabral, an Imagine Cup student participant from New Zealand, to help create free avatars for numerous nonprofits in Asia Pacific.
Below is a small selection:
Helping create visually compelling avatars is only one of many examples of Microsoft Citizenship’s commitment and activities in support of nonprofits around the world.
For more information on our capacity building work, follow us on Twitter at @MSFTctzAPAC, ‘like’ us on Facebook or visit our Asia Pacific Citizenship Blog.
Education professionals around the world are exploring the use of Skype™ as a platform to connect their classroom and share their learning experiences with teachers across the globe. Skype in the classroom is a free global community that invites teachers to collaborate on classroom projects through the use of Skype, to share skills and inspiration around specific teaching needs.
To facilitate global collaboration, a group of teachers from a rural school in southern Sri Lanka joined a virtual classroom exchange programme via Skype in the classroom that will enable students from other parts of the world to experience the wonders of a tropical rain forest.
Located on the edge of a rain forest, Rambuka eVillage School organises frequent trips into the rain forest to allow students to learn and gain experiences beyond the classroom. During the expeditions, students have the opportunity to conduct experiments and explore the wide range of flora and fauna that the rain forest offers.
The teachers at Rambuka eVillage School initiated the “Visit a Rain Forest in Sri Lanka” Skype lesson to share their unique learning experiences, which are especially beneficial to those students situated in urban areas and cities.
“More teachers around the world are starting to leverage Skype technology to expose their students to new environments and provide a more interactive means of learning. These interactive learning sessions have a direct benefit for Rambuka eVillage School, too, as their students are given the opportunity to practice and improve their use of English when they converse during the Skype discussions,” said Andy Schmidt, Head of Social Good, Skype.
The “Visit a Rain Forest in Sri Lanka” Skype lesson was greeted with enthusiasm by teachers from around the world — more than 70 teachers have expressed their interest to participate since the interactive lessons went live in October 2012.
“Most of my students are city dwellers, aged between 11 and 15. The rain forest is something so different and unfamiliar from their usual environment, and they would be very interested to learn more about it,” commented Ana Luz, a teacher from Argentina.
Young people can do amazing things given the right opportunities and resources. They are constantly innovating and pushing the envelope with creative ideas to address a social need. They are challenging old ways of doing things and finding better ways to solve an old problem.
Increasingly, we’re seeing a growing opportunity divide between young people who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who lack the skills, education, experiences and connections to employment that are required to survive and thrive. Closing this divide is one of the most important actions we can alltake to secure the future for our youth, and as a result, the future of our global economy.
At a time when youth unemployment rates are at an all-time high, and with an estimated 600 million jobs that will need to be created over the next decade to make up for jobs lost in the recent economic crisis, creating jobs for young people has become one of the most urgent problems facing countries all over the world. So how can we help to close this opportunity divide?
To address these issues, Microsoft has created a company-wide initiative, Microsoft YouthSpark, which is designed to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world over the next three years. We want to empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship.
One of the ways we are doing this is through Innovate for Good, a Microsoft YouthSpark programme that enables young people to collaborate, inspire and support each other while using technology to make a difference in their communities, and provides the tools and resources needed to bring their ideas to reality.
More than a year ago, six regional Innovate for Good events were held around the world for young people between the ages of 16 – 30 who were interested in the concepts of social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social good. They were offered a set of training opportunities and activities to help bring their ideas closer to reality.
This year, we’re taking this regional concept further and bringing local versions to more countries around the world so we can reach out to even more people: whether their interest is volunteering, working at a nonprofit or starting their own venture.
We kicked off Innovate for Good in Asia Pacific in Indonesia five weeks ago, and we are delighted to bring this programme to Thailand (19 – 20 April), Taiwan (April 20 – 21) and the Philippines (May 18 – 19) over the next five weeks, where hundreds more young people will participate in similar conversations that are taking place all over the world.
We’re very excited to meet these young people in the weeks to come and look forward to hearing what is on their minds, what keeps them up late at night, the interesting projects they are working on and the ideas they’ve been thinking about to see how we can help connect them with people and resources to further their aspirations.
For updates on Microsoft YouthSpark and Innovate for Good, follow us on:
On 20-21 April, more than 100 young people participated at the first ever staging of the Microsoft Innovate for Good event in Taiwan.
Part of Microsoft’s global YouthSpark initiative, this event brings together youth from across Taiwan to share ideas and support each other in developing projects that address emerging social issues. A majority of the event participants were young people who are already leveraging the training opportunities and activities provided by Microsoft in Taiwan, such as Student Programme, the GIRLS Power Up programme for aspiring female entrepreneurs, Imagine Cup Taiwan contestants, as well as ten student volunteers from nonprofit group Alliance Cultural Foundation.
During the event, Microsoft Taiwan also invited its nonprofit partners to share their experiences in using technology as a catalyst for new ideas.
Vincent Shih, General Manager and Chief Legal Officer of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Taiwan, said, “The key objective of Innovate for Good is to promote more active engagement between Microsoft and promising young people in Taiwan who are committed to using technology to make a difference. Through our innovative capabilities we want to provide the latest tools and resources and help them develop new solutions that create a positive impact in their communities.”
Some of the projects showcased at the Innovate for Good event in Taiwan include:
Each of these projects will be supported by Microsoft staff and nonprofit professionals who will provide advice and expertise across the span of project development.
The event also aims to heighten the level of awareness among Taiwanese youth about how the latest technology and social media platforms can further empower young people to broaden the impact of social programmes — while providing more opportunities for burgeoning social enterprises to commercialise their business ideas.
“The interaction between our staff and the event participants was highly beneficial, especially in providing the young people with a better sense of how to make their social projects marketable in order to turn their ideas into reality," said Mr Shih.
For more information on Microsoft Taiwan’s Innovate for Good event, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Microsoft.Student.Program?v=wall.
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