Microsoft’s i’m Initiative: Hotmail users can now give Microsoft’s money to good causes

I’m sure you know about the I’m Initiative for Windows  Live Messenger, but now you can also help out by sending mail with Windows Live Hotmail!

What is the i’m Initiative?

The i’m Initiative is a Microsoft program where Microsoft shares a portion of their advertising revenue for everyday activities – sending IMs and emails. Hotmail and Messenger have ads, like all free web services, and Microsoft makes money when a customer sees an ad. The i’m Initiative has successfully raised over 1.4 million dollars since it got started in 2007. It used to be available only in Windows Live Messenger, and now the Hotmail team is glad to say that you’ll be able to raise money for the cause of your choice each time you send an email.

The i’m initiative launched in March 2007 and in its first year raised more than $1.3 million for ten of the world’s most effective social causes, with each organization receiving a minimum of $100,000. With no set cap on the amount donated to each organization, the more customers who join the program and communicate using Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Hotmail, the more money Microsoft donates toward addressing some of the world’s most urgent social issues.

You can choose to support any of the organizations on this list: the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National AIDS Fund, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, ninemillion.org, Sierra Club, StopGlobalWarming.org, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The Humane Society of the United States and U.S Fund for UNICEF.

How do I get started?

Go to http://im.live.com to join. You can choose to participate in Messenger, Hotmail, or both and you can pick a different organization for each service or dedicate all your efforts to one cause – it’s entirely up to you! This program is currently available only to customers in the United States. Once you’re set up, you’ll raise money for your favorite cause every time you send an email or IM. It’s really easy. Once you join, there’s no extra time out of your day, you don’t have to pay any money, and you get to know that you’re taking a step towards making the world better. The power of the collective can be huge – think of the difference that could happen if everyone swapped out a few plastic grocery bags each week for a reusable bag or took one less car trip a week.

i’m Initiative Momentum Data

  • Microsoft’s i’m Initiative has quickly become one of the most successful online marketing campaigns ever conducted at Microsoft.  Consumers have truly embraced the i’m Initiative and its success has surpassed expectations, both from a social action/cause engagement perspective and for Microsoft’s own business, proving that cause marketing can truly be an effective approach for social causes, businesses and consumers alike.
  • From a business momentum point of view for Microsoft, with studies conducted in Nov-Dec 2007 comparing consumers exposed to the i’m Initiative via advertising versus those who hadn’t, the i’m Initiative created strong momentum in:
    • New customer acquisition: More than 20 million downloads of Windows Live Messenger have been attributed to the i’m campaign itself. 
    • Increased usage of other online offerings: Because of the inherent connections between Windows Live Messenger and other online offerings from Microsoft, such as Live Search, MSN and Windows Live Hotmail, the positive growth seen with the i’m program has had a halo effect of increased usage of these other services as well. 

We wrote about the benefits for Microsoft before, how it affected the number of Live Messenger users compared to other IM clients in the same period in the United States. In above excerpt from an email we received, we see that the other Live Services are riding along nicely too.

Now if only they would open it up to other countries…..