LOS ANGELES — Software titan Microsoft is no stranger to the global charity stage. Founded by one of the world’s most famous and committed philanthropists, Bill Gates, the company is well-known for supporting charities, social causes and volunteerism worldwide. Its latest contribution comes in the form of $4 million worth of software donated to World Vision Australia.
World Vision Australia, a humanitarian emergency aid, development and advocacy NGO, focuses on helping children, families and communities rise above poverty and injustice. The donated software provides the organization with new applications that will reduce administrative costs and support emergency relief funding campaigns and long-term projects for community development.
“This partnership and the technology it brings will transform the way our staff work and collaborate, advancing World Vision’s customer relationship management system so we can better target the information our Australian supporters receive,” said World Vision Australia’s chief executive Tim Costello. “It will also result in significant savings, making even more funds available for our work in the field, where it is needed most.”
Part of Microsoft Australia’s Tech4Good program, the donation includes key products like Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013, Lync, SharePoint, Exchange, Visio, Project, Windows 8.1 licensing, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and Office 365 for collaboration, tools that will allow World Vision to significantly enhance its current technology capabilities. These new software programs will improve efficiency, ease of collaboration and end-to-end communication.
“We have to have high quality communication and we require a robust system because that is critical,” said Ash Knop, head of World Vision’s corporate partnerships, speaking of the importance of supporting growing mobility of the organization’s more than 45,000 staff members worldwide. He praised the software’s ability to provide “flexibility and options to enable us to more support-centric in decisions and communication.”
Delivered under Microsoft’s Citizenship Program, the grant will also provide ongoing training for World Vision Australia staff to familiarize them with using the new software programs.
“One of the significant things about this is it’s not just about software and hardware, but really helping us through the utilization and implementation process,” said Knop, emphasizing the necessity of accompanying training. “It’s ensuring that we as an organization are able to use all of the software as part of our day-to-day as, say, when it comes to SharePoint and Lync, they’re something we’ve not previously used.”
Microsoft’s corporate culture highly encourages its employees to volunteer and donate to charitable causes. Its internal policies dictate that the company will match every employee donation with a cap of $15,000 per year, and it also gives $17 per hour of volunteering to the benefiting organization. Just last year, the company’s employees donated a record total of $113 million to almost 20,000 charitable and nonprofit organizations and causes worldwide. Last year, Microsoft employees donated 460,000 volunteer hours.
– Annie Jung