5 Rules for Thinking BIG on Small-Scale Fundraisers

Large-scale, corporate-wide initiatives driven from the top down are often the standard approach to fundraising. But more and more companies are choosing to cultivate philanthropic goals and activities by engaging employees at a grassroots level. [Read more...]

Kenya 2013: Perspectives from the Ground

Keyna_StudentsSoftchoice sends employees on international charitable missions for a number of reasons, among them are to develop leadership skills, experience the impact of giving first hand, and to help bridge the digital divide – providing computers and technology know-how to help children and adults develop new skills and break the cycle of poverty.

Some wonder if it would be better to save the cost of flights and accommodation for 14 employees and just donate the money and technology instead. We don’t think so. [Read more...]

Kenya 2013: The Difference Between Giving Aid and Aiding in Development

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It would be easier to just stay home and send a donation.

The thought has crossed the mind of any employee, from any organization, who is planning a charitable international mission. And it’s true. It would be easier. But there are limitations to simply sending aid – and to accomplish what’s simple is never the goal of Softchoice Cares.

Tomorrow, 13 of my colleagues and I journey to Maai Mahiu, Kenya for the 2013 Softchoice Cares International Mission. Our goal is not to offer aid but to aid in development – to leverage our passion for the potential that technology provides and to help bridge the so-called digital divide.

Earlier this year, our employee-driven Softchoice Cares board spent weeks scrutinizing over the various worldwide locations and local charities we could help serve. In the end, we selected Maai Mahiu because we felt our impact would be the greatest there, and the project we would assist in developing matched our core values as a company.

Our goal is not to offer aid but to aid in development – to leverage our passion for the potential that technology provides and to help bridge the so-called digital divide.

We will be working with Comfort the Children (CTC), a non-profit organization that aims to break the cycle of poverty by building and managing local infrastructure necessary to meet the challenges of everyday life – and improve local education, the economy, the environment and health care. We will help set up the Knowledge and Resource Center, which will serve as the very first library and computer lab in Maai Mahiu and the surrounding 50 kilometers.

The Center will provide essential support to all of CTC’s educational programs: adult literacy, after school peer-to-peer tutoring, computer classes, youth health education, and environmental education. It is our hope, and the hope of CTC, that access to the library and new technology will create opportunities that were absent before to further education and build job skills.

The support from our friends, family and colleagues for this mission has been incredible, from the donations of toys, medical supplies, clothing and school supplies, right through to our vendors and partners who have generously donated product to help bring this mission to life. We are fortunate to have partners like Lenovo, which donated laptops to teach both children and adults literacy and computer skills; C2G, which donated all of our network cabling for the new center; HP ESSN, which donated two servers and networking switches; and Sophos, which provided both server and endpoint security to help keep these systems healthy and intrusion free.

The Softchoice Cares board feels incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to lend a hand in such a beautiful part of the world. It would have been much easier to cut a check, but we felt our presence, our passion for technology, and our desire to make a difference were more valuable in helping to create lasting development.

I encourage you to like our Facebook page for updates from the ground during our mission to Maai Mahiu, Kenya.

Why Employees also Benefit from Corporate Philanthropy

182554_545598965479424_1547672823_nAt Softchoice employees receive two days per year to reach out to their local communities, volunteer time, and organize charitable events. Volunteering has not only become a Softchoice corporate passion, but has become an integral part of our values. With the leadership of the Softchoice Cares board (our employee-led philanthropy program),  volunteering and giving back has become rooted in our culture.

Employees choose to use their two days to contribute to causes that they’re passionate about – which makes an incredible impact on the communities around us. But what some organizations fail to understand is that corporate philanthropy doesn’t just make a difference to those outside the company, but also to those within. Volunteering gives employees an opportunity for personal and professional growth and provides excellent team-building opportunities! [Read more...]

Dogs with Heart: Eliminating Heart Disease & Stroke One Paw at a Time

feat im 2Every seven minutes in Canada, one person dies from heart disease and stroke. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in North America. Chances are, you’ve likely been affected by heart disease or stroke, if not directly, then through someone you know.

What can we do to eliminate these killers? A good start is to increase our daily activity levels – even if it’s just a 15 minute walk every day. And what’s better motivation for exercise than taking your dog for a walk in the park? Not only will your puppy (or friend’s puppy if you don’t have your own) love you for it, your heart will too. [Read more...]

Creating a More Strategic Corporate Giving Program

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Almost 150 years ago, Samuel Morse (yes, the inventor of Morse code), fired off the very first telegraph message between Washington and Baltimore, making him the first to ever achieve instantaneous, long-distance communication. Morse ushered in the era of communication technology that would allow for immediate access to information, better education, and broadened opportunities for populations across the world. After Morse’s invention went global, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  was formed in 1865. The ITU (which is still going strong today) marked May 17 as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The goal? Raise awareness of the many opportunities that technology can bring to communities around the world. [Read more...]