It was in Sydney 2010 (November too, I believe), when I first spoke at a Microsoft NGO Connection Day. It was the first connection day staged in Australia and I was amazed at how much I got out of it, in spite my stage freight.
I particularly enjoyed learning about Microsoft's dedication to working with nonprofits all over the world through their fantastic Citizenship programs.
Since then, I have been invited to about half a dozen other NGO Connection Days by Microsoft. Within the last year, I have spoken about Social Media Strategy for Nonprofits in Davao (Philippines), Manila (Philippines), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Bacolod (Philippines), and Cebu (Philippines).
I was also part of the first Asia Pacific Tech for Good Summit held in Colombo last May. Here, I met a number of nonprofits and Microsoft Citizen Specialists from around the region.
Each time, I would meet several nonprofit workers who seem to approach the event with some doubt and suspicion... Wondering if Microsoft was just there to sell or to "catch" people using pirated software. And each time, most of them would walk away, excited and amazed by the information and inspiration shared during these events. A lot of them, wishing for more of such events to occur, and more nonprofits to find the time to attend them.
It's wonderful to witness.
In my case, I love attending these events because it reminds me why we do what we do at Connecting Up. Talking to nonprofits strapped for resources and such, the work we do to help folks find resources is something that many if them seem to appreciate. Especially when most of them don't even realise that such programs exist.
It also reminds me of the power of collaboration. If nonprofits learn to collaborate more, and if we learn how to work with businesses, government, and others to help us with our causes, then, we can make a world of difference.
It's like the message in that shirt worn at a recent Connection Day: Together, we can make a difference.
I love that.
You see, on our own, it's so much tougher to get the work done. There are a lot of people and issues in need.
Just the last few days alone, my heart has been touched by the work of people trying to save the environment, those running orphanages, folks trying to raise awareness and money for hemophiliacs, people working with disadvantaged youths and challenging families and communities, groups trying to provide support during disasters...
It makes you wonder how we can even begin to fix the world's problems when there's so much NEED?
But, these people... These brave, amazing people... They're doing what they can even through lack of resources.
I like being a part of all of that in some way.
I love being a part of finding ways to improve communications, to increase awareness, to tell stories...
It's wonderful to be a part of the work of folks who don't just see what's wrong with the world - but those who actually try to find ways to be part of the solution.
What a privilege.