Case Studies


The Challenge

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:

  • Mobilizing donors to help youth realize their potential, particularly in the areas of education, employment, and entrepreneurship.
  • Providing an avenue for nonprofits, consumers, Microsoft employees, and other businesses to get involved and personally invest in the YouthSpark mission.
  • Reaching and engaging youth-serving nonprofits beyond Microsoft strategic partners.

The Solution

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 hosted a total of 16 custom campaigns during the 3-year partnership, for which Microsoft provided matching funds and bonus prizes.

    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.

  • GlobalGiving created a ‘Microsoft YouthSpark on GlobalGiving’ sponsorship structure, including a banner for participating projects, enhancing YouthSpark's reach.

    Visitors to 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 Results

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.

  • Donations, including Microsoft matches and bonuses, totaled $8,478,892.

    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.

    "Thanks to investment from the Microsoft YouthSpark Fund, Girls Who Code is closing the gender gap in the technology industry by inspiring, educating, and equipping girls with the skills to succeed in twenty-first-century careers."

    Girls Who Code

  • More than 39,000 donors from 102 countries engaged with the campaigns and used the platform to give in support of YouthSpark projects.

    "It was a wonderful experience and I feel privileged that I can help."

    Microsoft Employee

"Microsoft is proud of its work with GlobalGiving, a trusted partner and leader in global online fundraising. The YouthSpark on GlobalGiving platform helped nonprofit organizations raise money and awareness to provide education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth around the world. We hope GlobalGiving will build upon this project to provide a platform for others to learn from."

Yvonne Thomas, Director, Microsoft Philanthropies

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