August 1, 2011

Help your favorite nonprofit get a software donation

Guest post by the Microsoft Citizenship Team

Last week Microsoft announced updates to our nonprofit software donations program to enable more nonprofits around the world to get easier access to the technology they need, when they need it.

We currently provide software donations to more than 40,000 nonprofits each year, but we’re still just getting started and we need your help to reach more. Even if you don’t work at a nonprofit, you can help us spread the word.

Many nonprofit organizations, including some in your local community, are not aware that they can request a donation of Microsoft software, simply by visiting Together, we can ensure nonprofits have access to affordable technology to help them do more with their limited resources.

What you can do to help

There are two easy ways you can help:

1) Share the video above with your colleagues, friends and family to raise awareness of a great resource available to nonprofits. Here’s the YouTube link:

2) Make your cause our cause. Reach out to your favorite nonprofit and make sure they’re aware of the Microsoft donations program.  To make it as easy as possible, we’ve drafted a note below that you can use. Continue reading

January 7, 2011

Storytelling goes digital with TechSoup’s help


Guest post by Kristy Graves
TechSoup Global

Storytelling is one of the most powerful vehicles to convey your organization’s message. This month TechSoup Global and a number of digital media experts are helping the nonprofit community learn how to hone your storytelling chops.

Starting Thursday, Jan. 13, join TechSoup’s Digital Storytelling Event. Participate in webinars, online events and discussions to learn how to tell your organization’s story through video and photos. Then, create a digital story showcasing your organization’s work and submit it for a chance to win prizes, including Adobe Premiere Pro, Flip Video Slide HD or an Optoma Pico Projector. No production or storytelling experience is necessary – this online lab will teach you how.

Head over to TechSoup’s Forums to learn how to start storytelling. Then, use the digital story you created and put those new skills to good use. Here’s the overview:


The second annual Digital Storytelling Challenge. Create a 60-second YouTube video or five-panel image story on Flickr, telling us about your organization. Training and resources provided by TechSoup and its partners. Prizes for the top three submissions from Flip Video, Flickr, Adobe and more. See full details.


This is a series of online-only virtual events.

Jan. 13 to 31: Submit your entries.

Jan. 13: First Webinar, How to Tell Your Digital Story, with Michael Margolis of GetStoried and Rob Kershaw of the Center for Digital Storytelling Continue reading

July 10, 2010

A quick guide to multimedia software


An overview of software for multimedia editing, video hosting & podcasting

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, educators, NGOs, citizen journalists, media makers. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

By Kaitlin LaCasse and Laura S. Quinn

Want to get started using audio or videos to engage your current supporters and pull in new ones? There are a number of tools that put multimedia within the reach of most nonprofits. In this excerpt from the Idealware Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits: Fundraising, Communications and Outreach, we explore three related multimedia topics. First, we take a look at multimedia editing software, which can help you whip your audio or video files into shape for public distribution. Then we explore how video sharing websites can help you put your video into the world. Finally, we talk about podcasts, a way to let people easily subscribe to audio or video shows.

Multimedia editing

Multimedia editing software gives you the capability to create videos or audio recordings with a level of a polish that used to require a lot of expensive hardware. Good editing takes time and some skill, but a number of low-cost, straightforward packages put the tools within reach of any nonprofit.

With audio packages, you can edit interviews for length, cut “um”s and pauses, and add music or voiceover introductions. Both GarageBand (for the Mac) and Audacity (for the PC or Mac) are free, solid tools that provide all the functionality you’re likely to need. If you’re eligible for the Adobe donation program through TechSoup, you may be able to get professional-grade Adobe Audition for a $35 admin fee.

Adobe Premier ElementsVideo tools let you cut out pieces you don’t want, splice different sections together, and overlay graphics and text onto your piece. You might join an interview with a constituent together with scenes of your program participants, and put a title screen at the beginning — and even upload it to YouTube with a single click.

For Mac users, iMovie (free with the Mac OS X operating system) is a great editing tool for simple movies. The free editing software available for PCs, on the other hand — like Windows Movie Maker and Pinnacle Systems’ VideoSpin — can be difficult to work with, and often imposes insistent front-and-center ads or confusing limitations on supported formats. For PC users, a good alternative is Adobe Premiere Elements (pictured at right, $15 for nonprofits on TechSoup, or the movie editor is about $79 retail), which provides friendly features very similar to iMovie.

[Editors note: There are also a few online video editing options, including (free), (free), (free & open source) and Kaltura (fee-based and open source, though these solutions have serious limitations.] Continue reading

May 28, 2009 Turning concern into action Helping you take action online from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaOne of the most impressive and influential sites in the causes space,, has really come into its own in the past six to eight months. The social enterprise is helping raise awareness about important social causes and empowering people to take action, chiefly through the efforts of leading nonprofits.

Here’s an interview I conduced with Ben Rattray, founder and CEO of, after a meetup at TechSoup’s offices in San Francisco. Ben describes the organization this way: “We’re an online community and media network for social issues, focused on engaging and informing people about the most important issues of our time — global warming, homelessness, fair trade — and compelling them to take action.”

Actions might range from joining an organization and making a personal pledge to signing an online petition or calling a congressperson’s office about an issue. “This is one of the things we’re most interested in innovating on and partnering with other organizations on — finding the most powerful actions possible for people to advance issues they care about.”

Continue reading

April 12, 2009

Kiva: micro-loans to entrepreneurs abroad

Kiva from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaHere’s a 4 1/2-minute interview with Premal Shah, president of the nonprofit microfinance lender, conducted at the Craigslist Nonprofit Bootcamp in San Mateo, Calif.

The next Bay Area Craigslist Nonprofit Bootcamp will be held June 20 in Berkeley. Register now — it’s always an inspiring gathering.

In our conversation, Premal discusses not just Kiva but other online services that are of great help to nonprofits, including myc4, microplace,, Google Checkout, techsoup and Salesforce’s program for nonprofits.

Continue reading