Microsoft offers free versions of Office 365 to nonprofits

With Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates being one of the world's top donors to charity, it's no surprise the company is initiating a new endeavor to help out nonprofit organizations.

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it will be giving nonprofits Office 365 licenses to use in their workplace -- free of charge. Any organization that qualifies can get the cloud-based service, which comes with Office applications, e-mail, calendar, HD video conferencing, and more. This donation program is being offered in 41 countries worldwide.

"Choosing the right cloud solution increases your organization's efficiency, saves on technology costs, and fosters … Read more

How Code for America upgrades local government

Is there any greater test of one's patience than dealing with local government? Whether waiting in line at the DMV, applying for a building permit, or fighting a parking ticket, I'm always left wondering why there isn't an app for that. Now cities are getting a high-tech boost thanks to Code for America, a nonprofit organization founded by Jennifer Pahlka.

Since 2011, Code for America has awarded fellowships to a carefully chosen group of tech professionals and paired them with cities across the U.S. that are looking to improve the way their government is run, whether … Read more

Buy shoes, do good: Socialvest promotes charity via shopping

Socialvest, a company that says it's raised tens of thousands of dollars for nonprofits through its shopping site, has launched an iPhone app to make it easier for people to help others while shopping.

The site lets shoppers give to the charities of their choice by working with online retailers like Target, Home Depot, Macy's and Amazon. When a user buys something from a partnered shop, between 1 to 15 percent of the purchase will be donated to a nonprofit.

It seems like a great way to be a do-gooder while satisfying your commercial needs.

According to a … Read more

Using social media to bring attention to nonprofits

Until a few years ago, the main way to show your support for a charity was to send in an annual check. As digital and social media evolved, the number of ways you could support your favorite charities has grown.

Sending money, of course, remains, the single most important way to support nonprofits. But social-media users have learned that you can also have an impact by paying with something else. Attention -- your own attention and your friends' attention.

Hitting "Like" or "Share" or retweeting a post from a nonprofit can bring awareness to new circles … Read more

TED offers inspiration on the go

TED, the esteemed nonprofit organization and popular video-driven Web site, has brought its TED Talks to Android devices. With the official TED app, you can now browse and watch more than 1,000 TED Talks from the organization's popular TED Conferences while on the go.

If you're not familiar with TED, it's a nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading." While it may sound a bit hokey, TED produces annual conferences featuring some of the most brilliant speakers from around the world. These speakers often cover topics like technology, entertainment, design, science, and social justice. … Read more

Squaring off with Square, for a good cause

On Tuesday, I was enlisted to help out with an event in conjunction with the New York arm of the "Social Media Week" conference-fest--called "Digital Divas," the cocktail affair was organized by a handful of women involved in various niches of technology and digital media. Yes, dudes were allowed too.

As the event grew closer, we decided that we wanted some kind of innovative way for guests to donate to support Doctors Without Borders' relief efforts in Haiti. So after some brainstorming we thought about using Square, the new mobile-payment company co-founded by Twitter Chairman Jack Dorsey. … Read more

Online masses text to offer Haitian quake relief

The Web was flooded with people hunting for news updates on Tuesday and Wednesday following a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. People were also looking online for ways to help.

With envoys saying that much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, has been leveled and a death toll expected to run into the thousands, it was obvious early on that the catastrophe would require significant relief efforts on behalf of both governments and nonprofits.

These days, it's not a surprise anymore when much of the breaking news surrounding a natural disaster is … Read more

'Bra color' charity campaign blossoms on Facebook

Have you seen a bunch of Facebook statuses consisting only of colors--white, black, pink, beige--recently? That's not a coincidence.

Somehow, a viral campaign bubbled up through the nooks and crannies of the massive social network this week--female members of the site changing their status messages to the colors of the bras they're currently wearing in order to spread awareness about breast cancer.

According to The Washington Post, no one is really sure where or on behalf of whom it precisely started, but it appears e-mail chain letters went around earlier in the week to encourage it.

As far … Read more

Bebo founder drops $1 million at charity auction

NEW YORK--What's it like to watch a dot-com mogul spend $1 million? Well, it's sort of nice when it's going to a good cause.

On Monday night, at the annual benefit gala for the nonprofit Charity Water, Bebo founder Michael Birch, one of the event's co-hosts along with the likes of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and entrepreneur Sean Parker, made a surprise announcement. Shortly before the event's live auction to solicit donations for new wells, Birch declared that he would personally match all donations up to $1 million.

Charity Water, a favorite cause of the dot-com set, … Read more

IP2 eyes low-cost mobile service for developing countries

Correction at 10:01 a.m. PDT December 7: VMSP licenses will be sold at $41,200.

How will demand for mobile technology play out in developing countries? Mike Kellett and Joe Morgan are tackling this issue as they prepare to launch their global mobile platform at CES 2010.

Although their joint venture, IP2, isn't the first company to address the need for low-cost international cellular service, it's taking a different approach. "We have a system that doesn't depend on government intervention," says Mike Kellett, co-founder of IP2, based in the U.K.

IP2 will … Read more