Here’s your good deed for today

Although I have always rarely talked about my employer on this blog, I’m always willing to make an exception for a good cause.

Today Microsoft (disclosure for anyone other than my mother who reads this blog: my employer) has expanded the company’s software donations program to give more nonprofits access to technology that can help them do more.

While Microsoft currently donates software to about 40,000 nonprofits a year – that’s only a start – the challenge is making millions of other nonprofits aware that the program exists.


Here’s your good deed for today.

Share this news with your favorite nonprofit and pass it along with a colleague or friend so they can tell their favorite nonprofit.

(You could even Tweet it: RT @msftcitizenship: Microsoft Broadens software donation program to reach more #nonprofits #mycause)

Now. Not only have you done your good deed for today, but as a bonus you can enjoy this video on why and how Microsoft donates software to nonprofits!

PR reading for the weekend – July 15, 2011

David Reich has a post about a survey that asked what PR people don’t like about PR. Topping the list is ‘cold calling’.  OK I can understand that.  But what was second on the list? What was the second greatest thing that PR people don’t like about PR?  Apparently it’s having their press releases heavily edited. Seriously? We PR folks are precious creatures aren’t we? My first press release was so heavily edited that you actually couldn’t see the original words.  The funny thing is that it was such a disgrace I actually kept it.  When I moved to Seattle I found it when I was packing up my home office.  I scanned it, but nearly twenty years on I still won’t share it, I’d be mortified.


Judy Gombita has an interesting interview with Arthur Yann, vice president of Public Relations for the PRSA. When asked about what he finds professionally frustrating he answered:

I recently wrote about one of my biggest frustrations for the PRBreakfastClub blog. And that is, the number of self-proclaimed experts on Twitter and other social media platforms.  I mean who or what qualifies so many opinions? On what basis in fact are many statements made? Do these industry “observers” actually know anything about what it is they’re commenting about? Have they read and do they understand what they’re re-tweeting, given the third-party perception is that they’re endorsing the content?

Now there’s a man after my own heart. Amen.


Heather Yaxley has a post that suggests that journalists and PR practitioners should never be friends. I don’t agree. I’ve worked in this business for nearly twenty years and I’m lucky to count a number of journalists – both in Europe and the United States – as friends – all of whom I’ve met through my work. I don’t buy the Tiger analogy (read the post). As a professional there’s a church and state relationship. If there’s mutual respect and professionalism there’s rarely a problem, if you don’t have either then I’d suggest you’re not friends.

On the PR Conversations site, Heather has an interview with the wonderful Richard Bailey who describes the current state of Public Relations as:

It’s exciting. Public relations is universally needed but widely misunderstood and derided. It’s needed more than ever because of the disruptive power of digital communications, yet is also under threat because of the convergence of communications disciplines.



You may have seen this already, but via the Lois Paul & Partners Beyond the Hype blog the fantastic Jon Stewart take on the News of the World scandal (not sure if this is available outside the U.S.)…. and personally I think Hugh Grant deserves a lot of credit.



Finally, I enjoyed reading The Atlantic’s “14 Biggest Ideas of the Year” – hat tip to Piaras Kelly.


Have a nice weekend…

Branson on CSR and Reputation

Not surprisingly, Richard Branson is always one of the old reliables when it comes to people choosing their ‘most admired business people’. 

It’s not by mistake.  Branson represents one of the most acceptable faces of business.  He’s an entrepreneur, an adventurer, a risk taker, but most of all he’s a great boss and by all accounts a nice person.

He was at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles yesterday and I’m always interested in hearing what he has to say.

Two particular parts of his interview were interesting.

His view on how businesses can become a force for good:

Well, I think when you start a business the only thing that really matters is survival. You shouldn’t have to worry about trying to rescue and sort out other people’s lives, just make sure that you can make your business survive. Once you’ve gotten past the survival stage, then I think we can’t in the past people left it up to politicians, and social workers to sort out the problems of the world, and businesses just created jobs and the wealth. I think now, what a lot of good business leaders have realized is that all businesses must become a force for good. And small businesses can be a force for good in their local area, bigger businesses nationally, and even bigger businesses internationally, because enormous wealth can come with being a successful business leader. And, therefore, enormous responsibility goes with that wealth.

At Virgin, you know, we use our entrepreneurial skills to look at some of the seemingly intractable problems in the world, and see if we can tackle them differently than they’ve been tackled. So, conflicts in the world, and there haven’t really been really good conflict organizations going in to resolve conflicts.

His view on the importance of reputation:

Well, your reputation is all you have in life. So, your personal reputation, and the reputation of your brand. And, you know, if you do anything, anything that damages that reputation, you can destroy your company.

Pretty simple and straightforward.

You can read the full transcript here.