Microsoft is committing itself to fight racial inequity through its Nonprofit Tech Acceleration Program, often referred to simply as NTA for short. The concept is simple: By giving nonprofit organizations run by Black and African American leaders more resources to support their mission, these same nonprofits will be better equipped to make a bigger impact in the communities they serve, thus creating a much bigger impact than Microsoft could make by itself. In short, you empower the nonprofits and you empower those they serve—win, win.
In the case of NTA, it’s all about making technology less confusing and more accessible. The problem with technology is that it is supposed to be making our lives simpler and more efficient. But anyone less than savvy with a computer who has tried to use some of these digital resources might tell you otherwise—that technology actually makes their life more complicated! Not good, right?
And while many powerful nonprofit organizations might have volunteers with backgrounds in IT or the digital realm—or even the funding to hire someone with that expertise—smaller nonprofits don’t. How are they supposed to reach their full potential? Hence, why Microsoft is stepping in with NTA.
How Does Nonprofit Tech Acceleration Work?
NTA is a digital program that Microsoft offers to Black- and African American-run nonprofits. There are two things that Microsoft provides through NTA to help these nonprofit organizations. The first is through grants to help the nonprofits get the technology and platforms they are in need of; the second is by providing consulting to ensure they know how to use the technology they currently have or the new technology they are making an investment in.
As one of the largest tech companies in the world, Microsoft has a lot of influence and power in this industry. By offering NTA, Microsoft is committing to what it considers a long-term, sustainable effort toward combating racial injustice and inequity that have existed for generations.
As NTA is an individualized program, anything that a nonprofit gets through the program is going to be based on that nonprofit’s specific needs. Meeting those specific needs might entail providing a tech upgrade (or an investment in new technology altogether), or a partnership with a local tech company that can offer consulting and assistance so the nonprofit can implement the new technology they have acquired.
How Can Nonprofits Leverage NTA?
So, now that you have an understanding of how NTA works, you might be wondering how nonprofits are expected to actually take full advantage of this. What are the actual specifics behind the tech upgrades and consulting that a nonprofit can get through NTA?
Here are three ways your nonprofit could benefit from NTA:
1) Get Azure credits to use for web hosting and data storage
A nonprofit that receives support through NTA can be eligible for up to $3,500 in Azure credits, which are redeemable for all kinds of powerful Microsoft products and services. You could spend your Azure credits on things like Cloud Services and other online storage options, Mobile services, a network for content delivery, a SQL database, and much more. NTA also equips you with five Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise licenses, which you can use to coordinate volunteers, organize contact information for your nonprofit’s beneficiaries, manage donations and other income, and even fundraise. When all of these capabilities are available right on one platform, many of your operations can be streamlined and done much more quickly and efficiently. Of course, this leaves more time for your volunteers to focus their energy on actually fulfilling your organization’s mission!
2) Streamline communication within your organization and with outside parties
Nonprofits working with NTA can get up to 10 free licenses to use Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which makes communication possible across digital platforms in multiple different ways. You can engage in chat messaging, calls, and even online video meetings, all of which lets your team interact in a way that’s most convenient and in a way that’s conducive to productivity. Multiple methods of communication mean it’s easy to do everything from holding a brainstorming session to answering a simple question, as well as conveying your organization’s mission to outside parties.
3) Build custom apps to make your program more accessible
Want to make your organization more accessible to the communities you serve? Or how about to the volunteers who make it run, or the donors who provide your funding? Having a custom-designed app can make it so that much of what you do is available with the simple click of a button on a smartphone. If you think that building your own app is outside of your abilities, think again—NTA provides 10 free power app licenses that will not only help you create an app but also help you generate ideas on what your app can do and provide assistance when app building gets tough.