A key component of our Corporate Citizenship work is bringing the benefits of affordable technology to nonprofit organizations around the world. We do this in a number of ways from donating our software to nonprofits, to providing skills and training for nonprofits directly and in partnership with others. We are always looking at how technology can help community organizations fulfill their mission.
Our latest nonprofit technology offering, the Local Impact Map, was the result of trying to solve a problem we faced. Microsoft has Citizenship programs underway in over 100 countries around the world and we were faced with the challenge of how we could provide people with an easy way to find relevant stories either based on geography or based on a subject that interested them. The answer was the Local Impact Map. Built using Bing Maps and Windows Azure, it provides a dynamic, interactive way to give visitors access to stories, including text, photography, audio and video from around the world.
As soon as we launched the Microsoft Local Impact Map we started to get requests from nonprofits and other companies who were facing a similar challenge and thought the Map would provide a great solution to helping them tell their stories to donors, recipients, partners and customers. So earlier this summer, we made the Local Impact Map available to nonprofits and commercial organizations (to showcase their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs). The application is already being used by many nonprofit organizations including TechSoup, who help nonprofits around the world to use technology more effectively. TechSoup helps organizations like US-based AlAll The Children Are Children and London-based Childreach International have access to quality education and healthcare and uses their impact map to highlight stories of how they’ve supported these organizations.
We’ve also made it available to commercial or for-profit organizations who want to publish examples of their corporate citizenship, community affairs, philanthropic, or other corporate social responsibility efforts.
And while the best part of the application is that it provides a compelling way to present and share stories from a local community or around the world, it doesn’t hurt that it’s easy to create and maintain. Online signup is simple and organizations can even publish custom maps to their websites using a simple embed code, without the help of IT departments or complex deployments.
I encourage you to try it out today and read more about how your organization can start its Local Impact Map, here.