Digging Deeper in Bali

Behind our guest house the rice paddies go for miles, flowing until they come to a ridge of mountains in the distance. Workers dot the landscape, stooping as they labor. They cut the rice by hand while piles of grass smolder here and there, wafting clouds of smoke that just hang in the air.

I’m filming a documentary while we’re here in Bali, trying to dig a little deeper into our mission, the people we’re trying to help and what their life is like. At our morning orientation session we learn that school fees run $400 per year, putting a good education beyond the reach of many families, especially the poorest of the poor who work in the fields. [Read more…]

A Future for 500: Softchoice Cares 2012 Mission

When the idea of heading to Bali on a philanthropy mission first came up, most of us balked. As members of the Softchoice Cares Board, we represent Softchoice employees in every decision we make. Telling the company we were going to spend two weeks ‘giving back’ in a tropical paradise sounded like a PR nightmare. [Read more…]

Softchoice’s Top Five Office Fundraisers (and Counting)

We’ve tried an endless variety of fundraisers. But in our experience, the ones that generate the greatest returns are those that put the fun front and center. Here’s a look at our Top Five Favorite Office Fundraisers (and counting).


Making Managers Look Silly

One of many good sports at Softchoice

Generally speaking, we like our managers. But for some reason we just can’t get enough of seeing them all gussied up in the most ridiculous attire – from turkey costumes at Thanksgiving to Lederhosen in October. Equally entertaining is watching the head of a department stumble through a karaoke song at the end of a major gathering like our annual Mid-Year Sales Meeting. All it takes are willing managers (which we have in spades) a quirky idea (no shortage there, either) and a pledge form.

Trivia Anyone?

Who loves trivia? By our count, basically everyone. Our annual Trivia Night in Toronto has become so popular people from the local business community now flock to attend. Teams gather at the local watering hole to lock horns as they answer six rounds of questions – from sports and history to niche areas like Sitcoms and Reality TV. The leaderboard is updated after each round and teams are encouraged to place ‘beer bets’ with rival tables. This event is fun, lightly educational and, with an entrance fee of $20 per person, a great way to raise money! [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

The Secret to Effective FUNdraising


Team Finance Wins the MacDonald Cup

When I think of great fundraising events I think intense competition, gritty plays, blood, sweat and, above all, fun. That’s the winning formula behind Softchoice’s annual ‘MacDonald Cup’. For the third straight year this no holds barred tournament has drawn hockey aficionados from across Softchoice’s Toronto office in pursuit of glory and the chance to hoist the legendary ‘MacDonald Cup’ – fondly named for Softchoice’s president and CEO, Mr. David MacDonald.

[Read more…]

Softchoice and Habitat for Humanity: Where Soul Meets Strategy


Steve Levine loving the new Softchoice Cares T-Shirts

In Corporate Karma, Peggie Pelosi suggests that the new era of corporate philanthropy is about ‘soul’ meeting ‘strategy’.  Strategy gives structure and focus to soul. Soul gives strategy the fuel it needs – the passion, the sense of purpose – to deliver results. It’s the yin and yang, the peanut butter and jam, of making a difference.

When you get the balance right, soul and strategy amplify each other. Magical things start to happen. In the desert of Arizona, in the midst of our mid-year sales meeting, we saw exactly this. [Read more…]