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Kevin Espirito, Senior Manager, Employee Engagement Programs
The culture of giving at Microsoft is deeply rooted in our culture with our employee giving programs beginning in 1983 and growing each subsequent year. Last year our U.S. based employees raised over $96 million for nonprofits, however many non-profits don’t know how to take advantage of our employee giving programs.
We regularly get questions about how an organization can get on “the-list.” Of course there is no list. Our employees dictate which organization their matching funds go to. The programs are open to any 501c3 or educational institution based in the United States. Although political and religious organizations don’t qualify for our matching programs, there are exceptions such as if a religious organization has a secular program.
Last fall, in an effort to help provide nonprofits with more transparency to our employee giving programs, we launched our first giving program information session. The sessions are designed to educate both non-profits and our employees on how they can fully leverage Microsoft’s giving programs to benefit their causes. After seeing a standing room only venue at our first session last September, we knew that these sessions were popular but more importantly they were needed. Based on that experience we have launched a quarterly program of sessions where nonprofits and employees can come and find out more about the Microsoft employee giving program and yesterday we held our third such session in the Microsoft store in Bellevue, Washington.
Attendees at the Bellevue event. Cole Hoover Director of Programs at Lumana attended the event: "For me the event was a great chance to get to talk to people whose job it is to make the intimidating prospect of building relationships within Microsoft seem a little bit more accessible and human. It also provided me with a ton of information that I do not think my Microsoft donors and volunteers were aware of. I am excited to share with them what I have learned and use the tips from the informational session to craft a better strategy for this October. Last year we felt that it would be hopeless to try to navigate Microsoft to find supporters for our cause but this year after attending the session we are excited to get started."
Attendees at the Bellevue event.
Cole Hoover Director of Programs at Lumana attended the event: "For me the event was a great chance to get to talk to people whose job it is to make the intimidating prospect of building relationships within Microsoft seem a little bit more accessible and human. It also provided me with a ton of information that I do not think my Microsoft donors and volunteers were aware of. I am excited to share with them what I have learned and use the tips from the informational session to craft a better strategy for this October. Last year we felt that it would be hopeless to try to navigate Microsoft to find supporters for our cause but this year after attending the session we are excited to get started."
I have the pleasure of seeing employees creating change inside and outside of Microsoft every day. To be able to see these sessions come to life with engaged nonprofits who are learning even more about Kinecting, sorry connecting, to our employees is inspiring. Here at Microsoft, our employees’ innovation never stops, even when it comes to giving. We’re planning to continue hosting these sessions through the year to serve as a bridge between our employees and non-profits serving our communities.
Congratulations for winning the Summit Award. Thanks for helping kids! If the Microsoft folks in Iselin, NJ want to help with Parent-Child Home Program, they can let me know. Volunteers made hats and helped at a book fair on Dr. Seuss's birthday. Also would like to learn more about InterroBang. I don't have a contact at the Iselin, NJ location.
Renewal Food Bank serves people right in Microsoft's home area - the Eastside of Lake Washington and we could use the help of as many local Microsoft employees as possible. Please consider making Renewal Food Bank in Bellevue your non-profit partner - we help feed anyone who is not getting enough to eat - about 35% of the people we help are children and many others are elderly. www.RenewalFoodBank.org
It's encouraging to see the philanthropy at work within Microsoft. Is there information available about sessions held outside the Pacific Northwest (or even via webinar/online)? Our nonprofit is smack-dab in the center of the country, along the banks of the Mississippi River.
Our family took Amtrek to visit friends in Seattle last fall, but alas, we don't have the flexibility to travel that way often. Thanks so much for all you do in invest in communities. My best, Molly, @WWDr1ve
@Molly-Thank you Molly. We are currently working on a streaming and on demand session for anyone outside Washington state. This session is being scheduled for the fall and we would love to invite you – please let us know who should be invited, your organization’s name and contact details. We look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for all you are doing in your community – do also let us know the next time you are out our way- firstname.lastname@example.org. -Nathan on behalf of Kevin and the team.
@Joe- Thank you for all the work you are doing to support our community. There are two ways you can engage our employees: requests for donations or volunteer opportunities. As the Microsoft matching gift programs are designed to support our U.S. employee’s giving preferences, any organization an employee has given to or volunteered with in the prior two years is automatically added to our system. Once in the system, promote your cause to employees, easiest to start with those that are already supporters. If you have volunteer opportunities, we are deploying a new system for Microsoft employees and Alumni to connect to nonprofits and can add you to the list of initial partners if you would like (just provide us contact details)– this will allow you to essentially advertise your volunteer opportunities and events to this audience and help manage those interactions through an online portal. Cheers-Nathan on behalf of Kevin and team
@Bill- Thank you! This sounds like a fun and interesting opportunity. The best way to engage our employees nation-wide with volunteer opportunities will be through the new system that is launching in the next couple of months where you can upload opportunities and manage the volunteers/events/opportunities through our online portal. If you would like to be added to the initial partners helping us launch the system, give us contact details and we will add you to the distribution list for more information. We are also happy to connect you to our partners at United Way Worldwide who help manage our multiple partnerships at the national level and may be able to provide information on best practices from other locations. (Interrobang and other possible partnerships with Microsoft). For additional information on InterroBang, you can check out more here: http://playinterrobang.com/ .
I just found your blog about the giving program information sessions and would love to attend one. Are you still holding them and if so, how can I get involved?
How can our nonprofit find out about upcoming sessions? Is there a video session perhaps for those who cannot attend in person?