Newsbits

PSNsu16_4Microsoft 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.

Nonprofits warned about email scam

According to published reports, more than two dozen Virginia organizations, as well as organizations around the country, received emails from an individual in England, unknown to the organizations, offering an approximately $30,000 donation.

Here’s how the check-kiting scheme works: After receiving the original email, the nonprofit gets a check for $40,000. Another email arrives concurrently, saying that the overpayment is the result of a clerical error and asking the nonprofit to return the excess payment. A victim nonprofit might deposit the check and not know for several days that it bounced, during which time it might send a $10,000 “refund,” money that will never be seen again.