New tool puts nonprofit storytelling on the map

Lori Harnick, General Manager, Citizenship & Public Affairs at Microsoft explains why Microsoft is launching the Local Impact Map for nonprofits, a new tool that provides a compelling way to share stories and impact.

More than ever before, there is a growing need among nonprofits to effectively communicate stories of their impact on society. After all, how can nonprofits gain the support they need through volunteerism and donations without building awareness of what they can accomplish? In fact, the power and necessity of storytelling for nonprofits was a big topic at the recent Social Innovation Summit in May, which our own Akhtar Badshah attended.

It’s why today, we’re launching the Microsoft Local Impact Map for nonprofits and for commercial organizations who wish to showcase their Corporate Social Responsibility programs. Originally developed to help showcase the impact of our Citizenship programs in more than 100 countries around the world, we’re now offering the application to nonprofits at no cost, with a monthly charge of just $15 to host the map online via Microsoft Azure. Using the built-in content management system, nonprofits can now create their own customized maps to showcase their work in local communities around the globe incorporating text, pictures and videos. The map also includes a host of social media capabilities so stories can be easily shared and promoted.


The Aidmatrix Foundation utilizes their Local Impact Map to highlight impactful stories of their humanitarian relief partners around the globe.

Extending Our Commitment to Nonprofits

Nonprofits play an incredibly important role in every community around the world. At Microsoft we’ve always recognized the importance of that work and believed that by making the latest technology accessible we can help them accomplish even more. It’s the commitment behind our software donations program, which in 2011 provided more than $844 million worth of software to more than 40,000 nonprofits around the world. The release of the Local Impact Map is another component of that commitment.

Ahead of today’s general release we’ve been working with a number of organizations to create their own maps including the Aidmatrix and TechSoup Global.

TechSoup, an organization that helps other nonprofits obtain and use technology to heighten their impact, has populated the map with their global touch points. The organization’s impact map has numerous stories, including how they’ve supported U.S.-based All The Children Are Children and London-based Childreach International. Technology from TechSoup helps both organizations meet the needs of children around the world, helping them to provide access to quality education and healthcare.

Commercial CSR Storytelling

In addition to nonprofits, we’re also making the Local Impact Map available to for-profit companies such as UnitedHealthcare, who are looking for a compelling way to share the impact of their CSR programs. As with nonprofits the Map application will be made available free of change with a $15 per month hosting fee.

We think this is a great addition to the technology we are providing to the global nonprofit community, and it provides a great means of enabling nonprofits to gain support for their work and commitment. Our hope is that the Local Impact Map will allow nonprofits and our colleagues in the social innovation industry to seamlessly communicate their stories in a visually compelling way.

More information:



Fun fact: The Microsoft Local Impact Map was a Webby Awards Honoree in 2012 for the Corporate Social Responsibility category.

Of the 10,000 entries submitted to the 16th Annual Webby Awards, fewer than 15 percent were distinguished as an Official Honoree.

Comments (2)

  1. Hi Mustafa,  Thanks for your comment and your perspective. From working with 40,000 nonprofits around the world we get to see the amazing work that gets done in local communities across the planet.  The people working in nonprofits are passionate professionals and part of their mission is sharing the impact of their work, sharing information with their beneficiaries etc.  The Local Impact Map isn't just about publicity or storytelling, we have some interesting work underway with nonprofits using the Map to better serve the communities they are helping. We'll be sharing some of those stories in the near future.  The Local Impact Map will be a useful tool that helps many nonprofits tell their story – something that we constantly here is a challenge particularly with limited time and resources.  So I wouldn't necessarily agree with you. Thanks for your comment.  

  2. Mustafa Kamaal Sikander says:

    People who really care will continue doing good work even without any such tool whereas those seeking publicity/PR in the name of CSR will use it the most I believe.  There must be millions of non-profit oganisations in the world floated just to take CSR money from corporates and share it back with them.  Any tool to track them?

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