Must Have Checklist for Planning an International Charitable Mission

KenyaBuildEmployee-led volunteer missions are an integral part of our corporate giving program at Softchoice.

They’re an incredible way to develop leadership skills, and they provide a life-changing experience that individuals can share with the company, and their friends and family upon their return. I’ve personally been on two such missions, most recently to Maai Mahiu, Kenya this past September.

Over the years, Softchoice Cares members have learned some valuable lessons for planning and executing overseas charity work. Based on our experience, here’s a must-have list for any corporation planning an international charitable mission. [Read more…]

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…]

Creating a More Strategic Corporate Giving Program

softchoice cares image 3

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…]

Volunteering Keeps the Wheels of Change in Motion

Today is International Volunteer Day – declared by the United Nations to thank the many volunteers for their efforts and to increase public awareness on their contribution to society. November 29th also marked the first #GivingTuesday in the US.  This national day of giving marks the start of the annual holiday season, and celebrates and encourages charitable activities supporting non-profit organizations. I can’t think of a better time of year than at the brink of the holidays for these celebrations to occur and bring to light the need in our world . While many of us focus on our own wants that fuel typical mass consumption, it really is a time when all of us can be inspired to help the many others who need it.

Giving back doesn’t mean giving money, however. Volunteering your time and resources can make just as big an impact! Yet with 278 million people across North America, only 12.5 million Canadians actually donate their time and only 62.5 million Americans, according to Volunteer Canada and Volunteering in America. These are sobering stats given that on any given day, there are hundreds of thousands of charities and not-for-profit organizations that are in dire need of the support. [Read more…]

How the 2004 Tsunami changed the Softchoice Brand

Paul Asseff, Nick Foster, Edwin Jansen and Scott Harper volunteering in Tangalle

The day after Christmas 2004 many of us watched in horror as pictures of the Tsunami in South East Asia filled the press. For Softchoice, it was the beginning of a different kind of wave that changed our Brand.  Softchoice today is known for its corporate giving but it wasn’t always this way.

As a company we had not been involved in any kind of organized corporate giving. But, the employees of Softchoice decided that they could do more. They decided to raise money so that we could be involved in providing help. Grass roots fundraising started, garage sales were organized, bake sales were held, hats were passed at customer golf tournaments. I can’t tell you how many other events were run – some of them raising only hundreds of dollars – however the sum total of these activities raised $85,000 to be put to use in helping those that had lost so much. [Read more…]

Eight things I learned during our Bali mission

  1. Children are inspirational: They are resilient and whatever life throws at them, they take it in stride. They also look towards the future rather than harping on the past.
  2. When it comes to team work – whether it’s an IT project, moving dirt and sand, or wall-painting at a construction site – the total is greater than the sum of the individual efforts.
  3. Always have a plan B, or maybe even a plan C ready no matter what. [Read more…]