Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
Yesterday was a "pre-day" for the annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) here in Washington DC. Microsoft's Community Affairs team hosted a "Day in the Cloud," a series of sessions providing a deeper look at some of the online tools and how they can be useful for nonprofits.
The day's sessions included a look at Windows Live SkyDrive and the Office Web Apps, which enable people to create, collaborate and share documents and information. We also explored Bing Maps and the different Bing Map Applications that nonprofits can use to share valuable information and insight such as rich visual representations of community health metrics and service locations. One of the highlights of this session was Photosynth, a neat tool that allows any individual to upload photos to a "synth" and create a multi-dimensional photographic array which can be used to complement storytelling and documentation. (We even took a virtual tour of some D.C. sites.)
Shawn Michael and Linda Widdop of NPower Seattle and NPower Pennsylvania, respectively, led a discussion on Dynamics CRM for Nonprofits. We had an informal lunch at DuPont Circle's Flippin Pizza, followed by a session on Microsoft's software donations program and an impromptu training session from NPower's Shawn Michael on SharePoint for nonprofits. There was a great deal of interest in our SharePoint for nonprofits webinar earlier this month; you can access a recording here.
It was likely that the 2,000 wired technology professionals in the same hotel had something to do with the on and off connectivity issues, but in the end we managed to connect with Xbox 360 Kinect at the evening's Science Fair! The Microsoft Citizenship booth includes a Kinect, which was a highlight last night at the Science Fair for many. We hope to see you tonight; Dance Central dance-off anyone?
Thursday was a great conference pre-day, and we are looking forward to Friday's and Saturday's NTC sessions. You can follow the conversation, in real time, from this year's Nonprofit Technology Conference on twitter at #11NTC, or follow our team's tweets from @msftcitizenship. Watch our Facebook page for images from the conference as well.
Last Friday was the first full day of the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), NTEN's annual gathering that brings together nonprofit professionals from around the world to learn, share, and explore the important role of technology for social good.
The day began with an introduction from NTEN Executive Director Holly Ross, who shared some thoughts on the importance of technology in the mission and impact of nonprofit organizations. In Holly's words, "we are all revolutionaries, working toward change within our organizations and within our communities." Technology's role, she said, is not simply to be in the "back office," helping us to do our jobs, but it should be a key piece of the strategy of an organization. Executive leadership, she emphasized, must be bringing technology into heart of the organization's decision-making.
Our own Akhtar Badshah spoke briefly to welcome attendees to this year's conference, which Microsoft is sponsoring, recognizing the growth of NTEN over the past decade and speaking to technology's role in the economic and social development of society as a whole. In a session Friday morning, Akhtar spoke to the theme of harnessing the power of technology to effect social change, with a focus on three key areas:
Dan Heath, co-author of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard spoke to session attendees Friday morning. One of his key messages was that the most powerful communications are emotional, and not purely logical or rational. As human beings, he argues, we are moved more by our emotional selves than by our rational selves. The way we work toward change, then, must impact both the emotional and instinctive within us as well as the rational. He also spoke to the importance of finding and learning from the "bright spots" of success within our work. We focus too often on the negative, and analyzing and learning when things go wrong, but focus too little on learning from where things are going well.
The Microsoft Community Affairs team hosted three sessions Friday, including Akhtar's session mentioned above. We did an overview of Office 365 and the value of Microsoft's online offerings and the future of productivity. We also hosted a panel on the role of Social Media in Disaster Response, where there was a rich discussion with representatives from The American Red Cross, Zoetica, and Microsoft on the changing role of Social Media in monitoring and responding to significant crises.
NTC provides a remarkable forum for important discussions amongst nonprofit technology professionals, and it is a great opportunity for our team to learn from - and with - the community about where and how our tools, technologies and services can be more beneficial to nonprofit organizations and the work they do.
You can check out the NTC conversation online at the #11NTC Twitter stream, or look back on the tweets from @msftcitizenship. Until March 24th, 2011, our homepage will feature 5 standout examples of nonprofits using technology, be sure to check it out and let us know what stories have inspired you.
The annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) is always a great event, and this year's was no exception. The conference provides nonprofits with a wealth of knowledge and resources from other nonprofits, from companies and vendors, and from innovators and entrepreneurs. The conference, always known for its slightly irreverent tone, is also a lot of fun from a Day of Service event on Thursday, to the annual NTEN-produced video, this year's focusing - tongue in cheek - on saving the conference hotel from extinction, and events and gatherings Friday evening that provided opportunities for connections and networking. The Xbox 360 Kinect sensor at our booth attracted some avid Dance Central participants throughout the three days.
Reflecting back on the conference, a few things stand out as important themes:
1. Nonprofits continue to chart a path through a changed online landscape involving social media, video, and mobile technologies. Each of these continue to become important and influential tools for organizations to reach those they serve, but more importantly, are important means of listening, learning, and demonstrating impact. Social media is not necessarily critical to fundraising and development, but is increasingly important in increasing awareness and engagement. As organizations pursue their adoption of social and mobile tools, it is important that they do so deliberately, with a defined purpose, and not simply because 'everyone else is doing it.' Organizations need to be deliberate and strategic in their use of these tools, and ensure that they have adequate organizational support to be used effectively.
2. Technology is too often viewed as something that exists only in the "back office," a necessary tool, but not one that organizational leadership is taking full advantage of. Increasingly, the most successful and impactful organizations are those taking a long-term strategic view of their use of technology. They view technology not simply as something they need to do their jobs, but view it as central to the success and efficacy of their programs and mission. Rather than viewing the technologists as responsible for "keeping the lights on," nonprofit leaders should understand technology well and need to ensure their technologists have a seat at the table in determining the strategy and direction of the organization.
3. Too many nonprofits are still unaware of the wealth of information and resources available to them from companies like Microsoft. Through partners like TechSoup, NPower, NTEN, and NetHope, Microsoft and its peers provide a great deal of support to nonprofits, from product donations to training andaccessible to even the smallest, least-technically-sophisticated organizations. skills development. Last year alone, Microsoft donated over $500M in software to well over 40,000 organizations around the world. To learn more, and to get started, nonprofits should visit www.microsoft.com/nonprofit.
4. Finally, the future is now: online services and cloud computing are dramatically shifting the landscape in positive ways for nonprofit organizations, making available to them the same technology tools available to the world's leading commercial enterprises. Through a product like Office 365, for example, a small, 5-person community organization can now have access to the same powerful e-mail, collaboration and communications tools as a large multi-national enterprise with hundreds of thousands of employees. And because they are delivered through online services, the deployment and provisioning of these tools is relatively straightforward, making them more easily
Important opportunities exist to strengthen the capacity and improve the reach of nonprofit organizations. While companies like Microsoft remain committed to doing what they can, much of this leadership must come from within the sector itself. To that end, we will continue to support communities like NTEN, which has grown through the past decade from a small group of dedicated "circuit riders" to an organization that can now corral over 2,000 individuals into a conference hotel for sharing, learning, and transferring knowledge. While innovations in technology will continue to come from many places, I suspect the most important innovations in nonprofit technology will come from within the sector itself, as social entrepreneurs, community organizers, and "accidental techies" continue to harness the power of technology to meet their missions.
We'll hope to see many of you again next year at #12NTC in San Francisco!
Editor’s Note: This week we are proud to celebrate National Boys & Girls Club Week! During this week we encourage you to take time to discover your local Boys & Girls Club and its role in the community. From homework help, open houses and parades to picnics, performances and fundraisers, there are many fun opportunities to learn more about your local Boys & Girl Club. Microsoft has partnered with BGCA since 1998, and has pledged $150 million in support to Boys & Girls Clubs and the Club Tech program. We encourage you to join and support us during National Boys & Girls Club Week. Contact your local Club and find out why great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs!
Guest post by Bernard Morgan, Partner Account Manager, Microsoft East Region Charlotte Campus, Carolinas Region
I always root for the underdog. My wife says that I’m a softy for the little guy. And frankly, she’s right. I remember the second season of American Idol and seeing Rubin Studdard for the first time. If memory serves me correctly, he walked into his Birmingham, Alabama audition with an oversized red football, slow shuffle of a walk, and a huge smile. I didn’t know what to expect from him at this time given the young girls and guys who went before him looked like models; however, I was definitely open to this big guy with the big smile blowing Simon away. Only a few notes into his song, Rubin was amazing! He finished with thunderous applause from all the American Idol judges and a standing ovation from me as I stood in my living room.
It took me more than seven years but at the Boys & Girls Club of Charlotte’s 75th Anniversary Celebration, I had an opportunity to hear Rubin live and give him yet another standing ovation. Interestingly, there was one difference, I found myself applauding for his support of the Boys & Girls Club in locations like Charlotte, NC across the entire country. As it turns out, Rubin is an Alumnus of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Alabama and a national spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Club of America. Truly humble beginnings for a nominated Grammy Award artist but par for the course when you consider the huge smile, slow shuffle of a walk, and the oversized red football jersey he once donned on American Idol. And what’s special about Rubin today isn’t just his music, it’s his journey, and his passion to give back to help the next Boys and Girls Club alumnus with their journey. As a Microsoft employee, this is a passion that I believe we all share with Rubin.
Microsoft was one of a number of sponsors who provided volunteers and funding to host Rubin’s Charlotte visit and offer the “Boys & Girls” a free party featuring Rubin and other artists like Chad Mackey, Damien Horne, and Marshall Crenshaw. At times, all someone could see were kids playing football, eating sweets, receiving free hats or sword balloons, being entertained by clowns and the science exhibit, and of course, hydrated by bottles of water and soda from my refreshment stand where I volunteered.
I can’t help but think that there are a number of kids who often feel like the underdog. Fortunately, Rubin’s journey, and organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte are creating opportunities for these same kids to become America’s next Entrepreneur, Entertainment, Business and/or Civic Idol!
Good luck Rubin! Thanks for sharing your journey, and supporting the Boys & Girls Club of America!
Today I'm in Calgary, Canada, attending the Youth for Development, Development for Youth conference hosted by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Canadian International Development Agency, University of Calgary and Microsoft. You can watch the event live here.
"Youth Fund in Bolivia - the "Tuja Digital" program"
My primary reason for being here is to join IDB President Moreno in announcing the second phase of the Youth Fund initiative, bringing another $2.8 million (US) to organizations in Latin American and the Caribbean focused on youth empowerment. I am proud to participate in the announcement, building on the success of the initial round of the Youth Fund, which ultimately benefitted 18 projects in 16 countries, reaching over 3,000 youth. But what I really want to reflect on is the partnership we have built over the years with IDB.
Our common focus on empowering youth was the starting point and serves as the foundation for much of our partnership activities. IDB and Microsoft are also organizations that do things at significant scale, so the ability to bring our resources together for a regional program was of utmost importance. We have a common focus on building local capacity in existing organizations, we don't create new organizations to implement programs and the Youth Fund reflects that. This lead us to a model that was developed over the course of many meetings and conversations, ensuring that the objectives of both organizations are met and that we are very clear on the expected programs results. In my opinion, it is this level of transparency that defines a successful partnership.
The second phase of the Youth Fund is not only a significant expansion - we are hoping to double the number of grants - but it is also focused on a critical issue today; providing youth with the skills they need to get jobs and increase their economic opportunities. As in other regions in the world, unemployment among young adults in Latin America and the Caribbean is far above the average across the broader population. Many youth enter their working years without the skills needed to be successful in a job and these skills will be the differentiator for them. We hope that the Youth Fund will continue to open new opportunities for thousands of individuals, positively impacting many more in their families and communities.
I'd also like to note a recent study published by the great team at the University of Washington Center for Technology and Social Change (TASCHA) that highlights the impact of technology skills training on at-risk youth and people with disabilities in five countries in Latin America. The policy recommendations for greater involvement of employers and models for long-term support are spot on. The report can be downloaded here.
Our mission is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their
Explore the positive impact of local programs promoted and supported by Microsoft
around the world.
News, perspectives and analysis on legal and policy issues.
© 2013 Microsoft
Privacy Statement |
Connect With Us