Project Connect: Finding our Corporate Giving Sweet Spot

 

It used to be about getting out there and swinging a hammer. Perhaps a bit of painting or cleaning up the job site, a few moments to compare calluses with your co-workers and then heading home knowing you’ve done a good turn. Volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity build was (and still is) a nice way to spend the day.  But in many respects even a hundred such builds don’t come close to equaling the kind of difference we could really be making as a company.

Let’s face it, rough carpentry or tiling a bathroom isn’t exactly a strong suit when you spend your days building IT solutions. Technology on the other hand? Now that’s a different story. 

Technology is where we shine. And there’s huge value in what we can bring to bear when it comes to using technology to make a difference in our communities.

So what does that mean for a company like Softchoice? Do we pack up our hammers and part ways with Habitat for Humanity? Not exactly. In fact it’s the opposite: we go deeper by playing to our strengths.

This is the rationale behind Project Connect – the next stage of a partnership between Softchoice Cares and Habitat for Humanity. It’s an interesting example of what’s possible when two organizations come together to do what they’re really good at.

For Softchoice, Project Connect is not about building homes. That’s Habitat’s job. Project Connect is about ensuring the people living in those homes have the next best thing to a roof over their heads: a new computer with access to the internet.

Swinging a hammer is great, but our impact with Habitat becomes exponentially greater when technology enters the equation. How so? For one, we have ready access to refurbished PCs not just from our own operations but from the thousands of customers we serve every day. That’s a lot of computers going into deserving homes. We may not know much about tiling (or at least I don’t) but we do know a thing or two about using software applications. That gives our people an opportunity to get involved personally by helping train local Habitat families on how to make the most of their new PC. And when it comes to fundraising, we can tap into other likeminded people – not just employees, but partners and IT professionals as well – who share the same belief in the power of technology to transform lives.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

This is what excites us about Project Connect: doing what we’re good at, building on a great partnership and making the 900 PCs we’ve already donated look like a drop in the bucket.

For all the folks out there who’ve spent an amazing day participating on a Habitat build, I salute you. Keep going because we will too. Just know that when those houses are built and everyone’s moved in, we’ll be back to kick it up a notch with the finishing touch.

How are you evolving your corporate giving to create new synergies? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

About Eric Gardiner

Eric Gardiner is the Manager of Communications for Softchoice.