Note From Beth: I am thrilled to host this guest post from Microsoft Philanthropies General Manager that showcases examples of digital transformation and fundraising.
How To Use Microsoft Technology To Supercharge Your Fundraising guest post by Justin Spelhaug, General Manager, Microsoft Philanthropies
The demands on nonprofits are perhaps greater today than ever. As a result, the need to maximize fundraising is greater, too. A significant number of nonprofits are using the cloud in innovative ways to increase their impact and raise more money. The results they’ve achieved provide a glimpse into what’s possible.
When staff at SOS Children’s Villages International, which cares for children impacted by the Syrian refugee crisis, learned a five-year-old in Syria needed critical heart surgery, they used the cloud storage service OneDrive to quickly assemble photo and video assets into a pitch to international donors. Within two days, they had the funds needed to cover treatment.
“With our daily communications, the transparency helps our donors know where we spend money,” according to Ahmed Morabeih, emergency reporting officer for SOS in Syria.
“That encourages them to send additional donations to help people here.”
ADOPTA, which is dedicated to improving the adoption process for parents in Eastern Europe, is another nonprofit that uses the cloud to fundraise. A staff of three depends on nearly 50 volunteers to help make its mission a reality. “We basically function as a virtual office,” says ADOPTA President, and adoptive parent, Diana Topcic-Rosenberg.
ADOPTA uses cloud services to share files, collaborate and stay in touch on the go. It is also using those tools to fundraise, with great results. “One of the most important things we do is apply for grants that will help us get funding — and keep us going,” says Topcic-Rosenberg. ADOPTA uses the secure file-sharing features in Office 365 to make it easy for people from different backgrounds to edit a document, resulting in richer and better written submissions. The organization expects to raise 110,000 Euro this year — twice what it received last year.
Oxfam Hong Kong is another great example. Its Trailwalker event raises millions each year, as teams of four trek 100 kilometers in less than 48 hours. Yet it’s a logistical challenge as walkers navigate the trail’s hilly, forested and coastal terrain. It now uses the Microsoft Azure cloud service to ensure the safety of participants. By using IoT (Internet of Things) checkpoint sensors connected to the cloud, the nonprofit can track teams and individuals to ensure they’re sticking to the route, having fun, and returning year after year to raise more money to end global poverty.
“We have made our Trailwalker event more of a community,” says William Lee, IT manager at Oxfam Hong Kong. “The technology makes it so more people can use technology to volunteer, do something to help those in poverty — and donate.”
The cloud services used by these nonprofits are provided by Microsoft Philanthropies, on a donated and discounted basis. In early 2016, we committed to donating $1 billion in cloud computing resources, over three years, to nonprofits to digitally transform, scale their impact, and serve the public good. We have reached our goal a year early, and have donated cloud services to over 90,000 nonprofits.
And that brings us to two concrete steps you can take today to start on a journey of digital transformation that will help you manage your operations, raise more money and serve beneficiaries.
First, access our new white paper, co-authored with NetHope, to learn how your nonprofit can kick-start its digital transformation. Together, we have learned a great deal about how digital transformation can empower nonprofit organizations to do more. Through our whitepaper, we aim to spark discussion in your organization about leveraging technology to increase impact, starting with the Nonprofit Digital Strategy Assessment, to obtain insights into what the next level of digital transformation looks like for your organization.
Second, visit our Tech for Social Impact page to learn about the Microsoft cloud services available on a donated and discounted basis, including two brand-new offers: Microsoft 365 for nonprofits, which includes Office 365, Windows 10 and comprehensive security features, and for the first time, discounts on Surface devices.
In coming months, we will build on these new offerings, and on our longstanding commitment to nonprofits. By harnessing the potential of technology, we believe nonprofits will be able to achieve greater efficiency, raise more money, and make even more progress tackling the world’s most pressing challenges.
Justin Spelhaug, General Manager, Microsoft Philanthropies