Microsoft offers nonprofits free cloud services
Microsoft’s philanthropic arm has announced that it’ll donate $1 billion in cloud computing resources over the next three years to nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations worldwide. The donation is part of an initiative that includes providing a suite of Microsoft cloud services, expanding access to cloud resources for 900 faculty researchers at universities and reaching 20 underserved communities in 15 countries with broadband connectivity and cloud services.
Microsoft’s goal is to serve 70,000 nonprofits through one or more of the offerings in its cloud services suite by the end of 2017. The company will focus on increasing that number in subsequent years. Nonprofits must work through TechSoup (Microsoft’s partner in the donation program) to satisfy a variety of eligibility requirements to participate. To determine if your organization is eligible, visit http://bit.ly/1RSECd2.
Report details volunteerism efforts
According to the annual “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship, approximately one in four Americans, or 25.3%, volunteered with an organization in 2014 — which has remained relatively constant since the increase reflected after 9/11.
In addition, 62.5% of Americans engaged in informal volunteering in their communities, helping neighbors with tasks such as watching each other’s children, shopping or house sitting. Notably, the research also found that volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity as nonvolunteers. Almost 80% of volunteers donated, compared with 40% of nonvolunteers.
Your organizations can use information in this report to help fine-tune your volunteer program. To keep your numbers healthy, you also can find out more about your volunteers’ skills and interest, and assign them to tasks accordingly. And you can offer incentives for volunteering, such as greater recognition and free admittance to your events.
Public confidence in nonprofits varies
A survey conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy — the first to measure public confidence in charities since 2008 — has found that two-thirds of Americans have a fair amount of confidence in charities. More than 80% indicated that charities do a “very good” or “somewhat good” job helping people.
A significant number of respondents, however, expressed concerns about charities’ money management. One-third said charities do a “not too good” or “not at all good” job spending money wisely, and 41% said their leaders are paid too much. Notably, half said that, when deciding where to donate, it’s “very important” to know that charities spend a low amount on salaries, administration and fundraising. And 34% said such knowledge is “somewhat important.”
Consider these statistics when you complete your next Form 990 or draft your next annual report. Are you clear about how you help your constituents while you manage your nonprofit’s money wisely?