Case study: Microsoft and Techsoup Asia – Empowering the Non-Profits
TechSoup Global’s mission is to see all non-profits and NGOs equipped with the technology they need to achieve their full potential and increase their impact on the ground. Microsoft and its Technology for Good program is the lead product donor, advocate, and funder of TechSoup Global. Through Technology for Good, Microsoft donates an average of $2 million worth of software every day to non-profits around the world and provides 86,000 non-profits a year with affordable access to technology to support them and help them use technology to be more efficient, effective and innovative in their work in local communities.
Believing that technology is a true enabler of social change, TechSoup Global runs a range of programs from technology donations, online support and validation services, to education and computer refurbishing. Since launching in 2006, it has helped more than 236,000 non-profits across 112 countries.
In 2011, TechSoup Global decided to expand to Southeast Asia – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – and so TechSoup Asia was born. To expand, it had to bridge the gap between the corporate world of TechSoup Global’s main sponsor – Microsoft – and grassroots NGOs across the region who had never heard of the TechSoup program.
As program managers on behalf of Microsoft, PCS adopted a collaborative model to help TechSoup Asia expand in the region with its established regional non-profit partners Hong Kong Council of Social Service and Connecting Up Australia and working closely with local Microsoft subsidiaries. The partners – the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and Connecting Up Australia – helped build bridges and relationships – developing new in-country partners who play a key role in the on-going success of the program.
A social enterprise model was adopted to ensure long-term sustainability beyond initial donations. This required NGOs to pay a small administrative fee to cover the costs of the program to TechSoup Asia.
An NGO capacity-building program was also created to complement product donations. PCS worked with TechSoup Asia and Microsoft to develop and deliver a range of services such as technology and product training webinars, classroom training and ICT Audit programs for organisations. Events such as NGO Connection Days provided opportunities for non-profits to network, receive training on donated software, find out about resources available to the NGO sector, and learn about the latest trends in technology.
A critical KPI for PCS is ensuring that all collaboration has a measurable positive impact on regions and communities – and shared value for all partners. Since 2011, TechSoup Asia has helped hundreds of non-profit organisations in Southeast Asia build capacity on the ground to support disadvantaged communities. So far, it has delivered a remarkable 12,000 product donations to more than 700 organisations, resulting in $5.2 million in savings to the sector. Over 20 webinars have been held and 12 NGO Connection Days, attended by 732 NGOs and 906 individuals.
The impact on skill and capacity building through education and training is even more critical, equipping NGOs with knowledge to improve productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.
One partner organisation is HOPE Worldwide Malaysia, established in 1996 as a community program to help people with health services and education. It established an IT Center in 2013 and this has become a one-stop IT resource in Penang and Kuala Lumpur for underprivileged children, ages 7-19, by providing internet access, printing, homework help, and training including Microsoft Skills Learning Classes. As Katy Lee, Hope’s executive director explains: “TechSoup made the difference. Technology is no longer out of reach for the underprivileged.”
PCS, Microsoft and TechSoup Global were named finalists for the TechSoup Asia program in the prestigious Public Affairs Asia Gold Standard Award for NGO Engagement.