When I heard about the Softchoice Cares mission to Bali I was intrigued. The thought of twelve employees going half way around the world to build computer labs for local kids is pretty inspiring and rare. But I was even more amazed by the number of partners who were going out of their way to contribute. Servers, networking gear, laptops, software – you name it, it was being offered.
As a newcomer to IT, I knew Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, Lenovo, Faronics and Sophos as big powerful tech companies. But I never had a sense of the people behind these organizations. And I certainly didn’t appreciate the kind of difference these companies could make once they rallied around a cause that aligned so closely to their business.
It’s a simple concept: the more people that work together, the more you can achieve. But when partners pool resources beyond cash (though that’s always nice), amazing things can happen – and fast.
Softchoice Cares used to make a difference in a variety of ways – from building homes with Habitat for Humanity to participating in local walks and runs for a variety of charities. It took a while to discover the synergy that’s created when a company aligns its giving with the purpose of its business. When Softchoice Cares started to focus on ‘bridging the digital divide’ it was easy to engage and find support from business partners. Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, Lenovo, Faronics and Sophos have greatly increased the value of the Bali project because of the assets they have contributed. Softchoice Cares made it easy for them.
Creating synergy begins with picking a cause that relates to what you do as a business or reflects your values, mission or purpose. Alignment can be achieved by determining which of the following seven cause categories your company best relates to:
- Economic development
- Human Rights
With so many potential causes to support, and so many opinions, any organization’s CSR goals can get lost in a swell of different influences. But it’s pretty easy to agree with something that aligns to what you do as a business.
As the Softchoice Bali mission shows, tell people what you’re doing and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your business partners may be unaware of your CSR mission. Approach them and let them know the cause for support. You’ll never build the community if you don’t invite others to join. And you will likely be very surprised by the support you receive – especially when partners can lend support in other ways beyond donating cash.
As a Gen Y member, a life without education and technology is inconceivable. Everyone should have the chance to imagine, dream, and live. And in just a few weeks, 500 little hands will know what opportunity feels like with the click of a mouse button thanks to companies like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, Lenovo, Faronics, Sophos , and our shared belief in the power of technology to make life better.