Empowering through better understanding

“How can we improve and centralize communications internally to provide more seamless and consistent services to our beneficiaries across different locations?”

This was a question the IT staff of Singapore-based nonprofit SPD posed to three Microsoft volunteers during a sharing session on March 1. Over the next two hours, the volunteers worked closely with the nonprofit’s IT staff to break down the complex issue into more manageable pieces, identify root causes, and brainstorm potential solutions.

This sharing session was part of a volunteering event organized jointly by the Microsoft Dynamics Asia team and SPD. 40 Microsoft employees visited SPD’s headquarters to learn more about the nonprofit and the work they do with people of disabilities, as well as to offer their technical expertise in Microsoft Office and Dynamics.

By the end of the session, SPD and Microsoft worked out an action plan that laid out the concrete next steps towards enhancing the nonprofit’s communications in order to provide better services for SPD’s beneficiaries—people with disabilities.

During their visit, a PowerPoint presentation workshop was also conducted to help SPD staff deliver more compelling presentations to both internal and external audiences. Volunteers shared tips on designing templates and presenting ideas in a more captivating manner, and rounded it off with best practices on how to maximize impact during presentations, in less than 10 slides.

n another session, Microsoft volunteers bonded with SPD’s beneficiaries over tea and board games, getting to learn more about their lives, and the rehabilitation and training they undergo. The game of Snakes and Ladders got everyone particularly excited, with Sim Yee Yeh, a youth undergoing rehabilitation at SPD, throwing out amazing rolls of the die.

Microsoft volunteer, Henrik Salicath, Director Partner Sales, Dynamics Asia Pacific playing a game of Snakes and Ladders with SPD beneficiary, Sim Yee Yeh.

Some volunteers also supported SPD beneficiaries in packing marathon goodie bags in the Sheltered Workshop, a program that provides employment as well as vocational training for people with disabilities.

Though the SPD beneficiaries made it seem simple, Microsoft volunteers found out for themselves that packing goodie bags required far more concentration and coordination than they had initially thought!

“We’re very glad to have had the opportunity to interact with SPD staff and their beneficiaries,” said Bill Patterson, General Manager of Enterprise Sales. “Understanding people and their needs is extremely important to our work at Microsoft. Thanks to everyone who has shared their stories, we have gained new perspectives. We hope to be able to tap into these experiences to design technology that empowers people of all ability levels, age, gender, and backgrounds.”

Learn more about how SPD enables and supports people with disabilities here.

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