Volunteers – A critical contribution to our communities

Microsoft employees have always been passionate about supporting their communities and causes. Recently, many asked how they can do more, so we launched Tech Talent for Good to extend the skills of our employees to nonprofit organizations who often lack the technology expertise required to do their very best for their clients.

Tech Talent for Good, National Volunteer Week

In our Tech Talent for Good program, we’re working with a number of nonprofit partners through the Taproot Foundation, an organization that specializes in skills-based volunteering and actively identifies technology projects and manages the engagement between nonprofit organizations and our employee volunteers. We’re also partnering with Realized Worth to establish and maintain a grassroots infrastructure that enables employees to lead and manage their own volunteering projects.

We started with a varied portfolio of twenty nonprofits in Washington State, and while it’s been just six weeks since the launch of Tech Talent for Good, we’ve already gained a number of interesting insights.

First of all, we knew that scoping the projects correctly at the outset was important, and we have found great value in working with Taproot to help high tech and nonprofit employees collaborate on scoping the best approach to solving a variety of technical challenges.

In addition, we learned that unearthing the right skills for each project is critically important to help the projects progress at a good pace. Realized Worth worked with each of our project leaders to help them recruit the specific skill sets required and make each task actionable and impactful.

The last six weeks also reaffirmed our long-held belief that nonprofits want the best and latest technology to run their operations and help them achieve their missions and they’re eager, with technical support, to experiment in order to realize the optimum outcomes for their beneficiaries.

The final learning is that the interest in technical expertise from nonprofits is as great as we suspected. Over time and as we refine our program, we’ll make even more matches between our employee volunteers and nonprofits in need of their tech talents.

So far, the Tech Talent for Good program is proving just as valuable for our employees as for the nonprofits. “Tech Talent for Good is an awesome way to give back, and give where the sweet spot of your talent is,” says Jeff Gollnick, Senior Content Publishing Manager, who volunteers at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center.


volunteers, Tech Talent for Good, citizenship
Microsoft’s Jeff Gollnick, left, at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, with client Sadie, and Cluny McCaffrey, the center’s deputy director, right. Photo credit: Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

Senior Service Engineer Keith Miller, who volunteers his time at Friends of the Seattle Public Library, is equally enthusiastic: “I love books, and the idea of helping people gain access to information is very special to me. Being able to help the library with machine maintenance as well as process evolution so more people can access the rich resources of the library has been an invaluable experience.”

Like many of my Microsoft colleagues, I also volunteer. I’m honored to be on the board of City Year Seattle where I see firsthand how an investment in near-peer relationships among youth has a direct impact on their lives and their families. The donation of time today is unlocking profound positive change that will ripple out well into the future.

We are incredibly proud of how our Microsoft employees are helping others do more and achieve more. National Volunteer Week is the perfect time to thank them for their incredible generosity. We are also indebted to the thousands of dedicated and passionate people who work on staff at nonprofits around the world. Thank you for your service, every single day.

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