Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
~ Victor Borge
For the past 30 years, Comic Relief has been shortening the distance between people; often through laughter, but also by using its global stage to shine a spotlight on issues that may otherwise be neglected. Whether that’s helping remove the stigma of mental illness, championing the rights of the elderly, or making human trafficking a bigger part of the public debate, Comic Relief has helped to put a human face (albeit with a bright-Red Nose) on these problems.
Their work goes beyond awareness to empowerment, taking real action to tackle the root causes of poverty and social injustice in the UK and across the world. The impact that Comic Relief continues to have wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous fundraising efforts – over £1 billion raised so far – of staff, volunteers and everyday folks, together with celebrities and key corporate partners across the country. Technology has played a significant role in these efforts: mobile giving, social media sites, and online social platforms for giving have made it much easier to connect with supporters.
Comic Relief are now looking at how the role of technology could work equally well for service delivery. In April 2015, Comic Relief launched its Tech for Good programme. The goal of the programme is to support not-for-profit organisations in using digital technology to create social change by delivering new ideas and more effective services.
This goal makes Comic Relief a perfect partner for Microsoft in our global initiative, Upgrade Your World. This year-long project celebrates people and organisations doing great things, including partnerships with 10 global and 100 local charities, 10 of which are in the UK. Each charity will receive $50,000(roughly £33,000).
“This partnership will help expand on the initial success of Tech for Good”, says Billy Dann, Grant Manager at Comic Relief. “We’re venturing into new territory by supporting charities and not-for-profit organisations completely rethink their offers of support to and with the people they help, by using digital technology in a range of exciting new ways.”
So far, the programme has given support to a diverse set of projects ranging from an online dispute resolution service to a Bluetooth-enabled tool to help the visually impaired navigate the London Tube. Regardless of their goals, each project has been selected for its ability to make a tangible impact and for the ability to be shared and replicated by other charities. In other words, Tech for Good is inspiring people of action to do great things: exactly what Microsoft and #UpgradeYourWorld are all about.
Visit the Comic Relief website to find out more about how they are working with others towards a just world free from poverty: http://www.comicrelief.com/about-us