To help Microsoft engage new audiences and support its existing nonprofits' capacity to bridge the global opportunity divide for youth
In September of 2012, Microsoft announced the creation of YouthSpark. The goal of this new company-wide initiative would be to create opportunities for millions of youth. The initiative was created in response to mounting evidence that youth around the world have been facing pressing challenges, including an alarming gap between those with the access, skills, and opportunities to be successful and those without.
In North America, the divide is evidenced by youth like Domineisha. After finally earning her high school diploma, Domineisha was forced to turn down a coveted internship at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital in favor of the wages she earned at Home Depot, which helped support her mother, her sister, and her sister's two-year-old daughter.
With the launch of YouthSpark, Microsoft hoped to touch the lives of people like Domineisha by:
A flexible partnership that provided opportunities for nonprofit partners, Microsoft, and GlobalGiving
Initially GlobalGiving built a stand-alone website at Microsoft's request, but the site failed to generate the kind of organic traffic hoped for, so the program was integrated onto the GlobalGiving platform. "YouthSpark on GlobalGiving" led to greater efficiency and impact, providing a larger portfolio of eligible nonprofits, increased visibility and traffic, and the opportunity for participating nonprofits to capture new donors. GlobalGiving hosted periodic donation and matching campaigns, including Microsoft YouthSpark #GivingTuesday and YouthSpark matching days.
GlobalGiving created leaderboards that displayed campaign rankings and encouraged participating nonprofits to engage, mobilizing their networks. As founding members of #GivingTuesday, Microsoft and GlobalGiving placed a particularly strong emphasis on campaigns tied to this worldwide movement. This led to successful fundraising campaigns and increased awareness of #GivingTuesday among nonprofits and the general public.
Visitors to GlobalGiving.org were able to filter search results to specifically find and donate to YouthSpark-participating projects. The YouthSpark brand brought value to nonprofit partners from donors sourced not just by Microsoft, but also through GlobalGiving's platform and beyond.
Microsoft used GlobalGiving gift cards to engage employees, partners, and consumers with the YouthSpark initiative, just one way Microsoft leveraged the partnership across its business. Microsoft used them to engage customers during holiday retail and cause marketing campaigns, employees during orientation, and partners during conferences such as the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.
The Microsoft YouthSpark initiative brought awareness to youth challenges and support to nonprofits working to address these challenges
GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners that participated in YouthSpark came to see Microsoft as an influential and trusted brand in the philanthropy space.
Microsoft's marketing and promotion of youth-focused programs paired with the matching campaign fundraising efforts of participating nonprofits drew much needed attention and funding to the challenges of youth.
The initiative benefited 1,848 youth projects and impacted more than 340,000 youth around the world.
More than 39,000 donors from 102 countries engaged with the campaigns and used the platform to give in support of YouthSpark projects.