“Technology creates opportunities for people and organizations to realize their full potential” is the thought driving Microsoft’s corporate citizenship program. With the enduring commitment to serve needs of communities worldwide Microsoft is playing the role of a responsible global citizen. Going far beyond its products and services it has collaborated with business partners, governments and non profit organizations around the globe to fulfil its commitment. It delivers new technology to people and organizations to unleash their creativity, productivity and opportunity across borders.
In today’s world there is no scarcity of opportunities yet there is a growing divide between young people who have the chance to succeed owing to their enhanced skills and those who don’t. In response to this divide Microsoft has targeted its corporate citizenship program particularly towards youth empowerment. Microsoft YouthSpark is a youth empowerment initiative that connects millions of youth the world over and provides them with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship.
It brought together more than 350,000 students from more than 260 regions and countries to participate in the 2012 Imagine Cup—the world’s largest student technology competition. In the auspicious event students from different parts of the world and cultures use their skills to solve world’s most challenging problems. Such competitions are great motivators for youth as it provides them with a platform to showcase their talent across borders and to explore and enhance global opportunities.
Microsoft has provided students free access to state-of-art technology facilities at more than 90 Microsoft innovation centres in 44 countries to accelerate their career opportunities. It has also provided innovative designer and web developer tools to students and teachers around the globe under the Microsoft Dreamspark initiative. Most of the company’s donations are targeted towards Non-profit organizations addressing the need of youth skill development. Also, through Microsoft BizSpark the company is helping young entrepreneurs launch new businesses by providing access to software development tools, industry connections, and investors.
Empowering non profits: It goes without saying that the biggest problem a non-profit organization faces is raising funds for the upgrade and betterment of its core processes. “Nonprofits need powerful tools to transform passion into progress. Modern productivity, communication, and collaboration solutions help people drive social change where it’s needed most. ” says Kurt DelBene, President, Microsoft Office Division. Through its technology for good program Microsoft is helping 62,000 non profit organizations around the globe to get affordable access to technology for serving communities with a greater zeal.
Some activities under the initiative were donating hardware and software to non profit organizations and providing them with refurbished laptops at relatively cheaper rates. Microsoft also collaborates with nonprofits for hosting more than 100 NGO Connection Days and in educating NGO staff on how to get the most value from donated software via webinars. Other than the above mentioned points Microsoft also provides technological process solutions to the non profits so that they can reach out to the people in need efficiently and effectively.
Microsoft’s Employee giving program: Employees are the heart of any organization and the initiatives taken by them are prone to be embedded in the core of the organizational culture . The Microsoft’s employee giving program is a campaign by which employees devote their time and money as a service to the communities. Since its inception in 1983 the company has raised nearly $ 1 billion as donations. On 18th Oct, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Chairman and Founder Bill Gates commemorated Microsoft’s 30th Employee Giving Campaign during a special town hall event where the congratulated the employees for their efforts.
In FY12 the employees gave nearly $100 million with a volunteering percentage of 65%. The company Encourages employee giving and volunteering by offering company matching contributions for US employees up to $12,000 for total time and cash donations. It gives employees at least three days off from their office work if they want to volunteer outside the United States. The volunteering percentage has increased 12. 5% year over year and more than 12000 employees and 2,000 non-profits have been registered on Volunteer Manager, Microsoft’s opportunity matching system for bringing needs and skills together.
The organization motivates volunteering through the Give SharePoint site, where employees can share experiences and opportunities with the rest of the Microsoft community. Beyond direct service to the community, Microsoft has made significant strides in the areas of human rights and environmental sustainability. It consulted with businesses, government and other key stakeholders to develop a human rights statement that brings together long-standing policies on issues such as privacy, security, free expression and labour rights.
It exceeded its goal to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent compared with 2007, due in part to the 1. 1 billion kilowatt hours of green power it purchased, the third most of any US company. Its endorsement of the United Nations Global Compact drives Microsoft to continually improve its business practices and increase its accountability. “Stick to your core competencies“– the famous business jargon is what Microsoft is incorporating in its pursuit of becoming a world leader in Corporate citizenship.