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I’M Involved

Diana Freedman (COM’08) is working with Microsoft to connect instant messaging to philanthropy.

Sending an instant message to a friend during a Tuesday morning lecture doesn’t usually conjure up an image of philanthropy. But if Diana Freedman (COM’08) and Microsoft have their way, your favorite charity will benefit with every click of the “enter” key.

Freedman, a campus representative for Microsoft, is working on the I’M Initiative, a program from Windows Live Messenger that shares a portion of its advertising revenue with nine of the world’s major charitable organizations each time someone downloads the instant messaging service, and again each time the person starts a new conversation. Users choose the cause they would like to benefit. Microsoft has promised a minimum of $100,000 to each organization, and there’s no cap. “If people keep IMing,” says Freedman, “they’ll keep sending money.”

Hoping to make Boston University the school with the greatest number of Live Messenger downloads, Freedman has organized several events on campus to spark students’ interest.

She is offering up to $300 to the student government of either the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Communication, whichever has the most students download the service. She’ll periodically raffle off gift cards and DVDs to downloaders, and on April 27, she’ll treat everyone who installs Windows Live Messenger to free flicks at BU Central. Once students download the service, they must IM Freedman to qualify for the promotions.

“Aside from the fact that it is a great instant messaging service, it is a great cause that Microsoft is doing,” says Freedman. “Students are donating Microsoft’s money, and they don’t have to spend a penny themselves.”

For more information on how you can get involved with the I’M Initiative, e-mail dianafreedman@hotmail.com.

To download Microsoft’s instant messaging service, visit http://imforacause.com/ (students must download through this site).

Brittany Jasnoff can be reached at bjasnoff@bu.edu.