How tech is forcing firms to be better global citizens

Catherine Lawson at the BBC: “…technology is forcing companies to up their game and interact with communities more directly and effectively….

Platforms such as Kritical Mass have certainly given a fillip to the idea of crowd-supported philanthropy, attracting individuals and corporate sponsors to its projects, whether that’s saving vultures in Kenya or bringing solar power to rural communities in west Africa.

Sponsors can offer funding, volunteers, expertise or marketing. So rather than imposing corporate ideas of “do-gooding” on communities in a patronising manner, firms can simply respond to demand.

HelpfulPeeps has pushed its volunteering platform into more than 40 countries worldwide, connecting people who want to share their time, knowledge and skills with each other for free.

In the UK, online platform Neighbourly connects community projects and charities with companies and people willing to volunteer their resources. For example, Starbucks has pledged 2,500 days of volunteering and has so far backed 70 community projects….

Judging by the strong public appetite for supporting good causes and campaigning against injustice on sites such as,, JustGiving andGoFundMe, his assessment appears to be correct.

And LinkedIn says millions of members have signalled on their profiles that they want to serve on a non-profit board or use their skills to volunteer….

Tech companies in particular are offering expertise and skills to good causes as way of making a tangible difference.

For example, in January, Microsoft announced that through its new organisation,Microsoft Philanthropies, it will donate $1bn-worth (£700m) of cloud computing resources to serve non-profits and university researchers over the next three years…

And data analytics specialist Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) has offered its data-crunching skills to help the Capital Area Food Bank charity distribute food more efficiently to hungry people around the Washington DC area.

APT used data to develop a “hunger heat map” to help CAFB target resources and plan for future demand better.

In another project, APT helped The Cara Program – a Chicago-based charity providing training and job placements to people affected by homelessness or poverty – evaluate what made its students more employable….

And Launch, an open platform jointly founded by Nasa, Nike, the US Agency for International Development, and the US Department of State aims to provide support for start-ups and “inspire innovation”.

In the age of internet transparency, it seems corporates no longer have anywhere to hide – a spot of CSR whitewashing is not going to cut it anymore….(More)”.