Three tips to expand your nonprofit’s reach with accessibility
Published May 07 2024 08:00 AM 1,024 Views
Microsoft

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There are over 1 billion people in the world with disabilities. For nonprofits to reach all members of your community, organizations must be accessible to people with disabilities. This year on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, extend the reach of your nonprofit by committing to a few inclusive practices:

 

1. Embed accessibility in your technology strategy

 

As you scope and procure technology, plan for accessibility as a critical part of your strategy. Accessible websites, apps, and other digital content help broaden your impact by allowing people with disabilities to engage with your organization. For the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE), accessible solutions have allowed them to better serve their community of job coaches and employees with disabilities. Clients with learning disabilities are now accessing curriculum on Community Training powered by Azure with accessible tools like Immersive Reader and Translator.

 

 

Nonprofits can better achieve business goals through more accessible procurement programs with help from initiatives like Procure Access.

 

2. Collaborate with talent with disabilities

 

Work together with the disability community to learn how to best engage your employees, donors, and stakeholders with disabilities. One of the UK’s oldest disability nonprofits, SeeAbility did just that when they moved to Microsoft Dynamics 365. The team set up their new constituent relationship manager (CRM) system to be more compatible with assistive technology tools like screen readers. They then worked blind and low vision users to test the solution and receive feedback on their experiences. The enhancements will significantly improve experiences for blind and low-vision employees while creating a more consistent and efficient solution for reaching their community.

 

3. Leverage AI to empower everyone

 

AI has the power to transform how we work by making it easier to create and consume content. Microsoft 365 offers many AI-powered accessibility features, including Teams Captioning, PowerPoint Designer, and image descriptions. Adding Microsoft Copilot to workstreams can also be a great assistance tools for people with disabilities. Learn how AI assistance empowers employees with disabilities in our employee series This is my Copilot where our colleagues share their favorite use cases for generative AI. From minimizing eye fatigue by summarizing emails, to identifying speakers during meetings for people who are hard of hearing, AI powers inclusive tools that make it possible for everyone to participate, collaborate, and communicate more fully. 

 

 

Meeting the growing need for accessibility

 

More people are joining the disability community every year, with 1 in 8 people living with mental health conditions, 230 million people experiencing age-related hearing loss, and 1 in 7 people who are neurodivergent. By making your nonprofit more accessible, you are serving a larger portion of the community, empowering your employees, and demonstrating your commitment to inclusion and equity.

 

To learn more about accessibility at Microsoft, visit Microsoft Accessibility, get your Accessibility fundamentals badge, and share your feedback to the Disability Answer Desk. Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day!

 

Continue the conversation by joining us in the Nonprofit Community! Want to share best practices or join community events? Become a member by "Joining" the Nonprofit Community. To stay up to date on the latest nonprofit news, make sure to Follow or Subscribe to the Nonprofit Community Blog space!

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