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Power 2 the People

Culture | Posted on April 5, 2012 by James Shirriff

Many companies give back to their communities using the same approach: decisions are generally made by one team or department managing the company’s overall philanthropic activities. Very few involve employees in deciding where their efforts should be focused or even encourage them to get involved. According to an Imagine Canada survey, in 2009 only 18% of corporations encouraged employees to raise money and only 9% made matching grants for employee contributions.

Softchoice’s employees raise a ton of money each year, and the Softchoice Cares Board directs funds to different charities and technology-related causes. But with a company full of employees who are passionate about a wide range of causes, the board saw an opportunity to give them the chance to have a bigger say in where the funds should go. That was the ignition point for Softchoice’s new Power 2 the People campaign!

Power 2 the People is all about democratizing the charity selection process and driving more engagement between Softchoice, employees and the local community. The program is aimed at starting a conversation between Softchoice’s employees and the causes they care about. 

Here are the steps we’re taking to achieve this vision!

Step 1 – Employees nominate local charities

At Softchoice we align our corporate giving with what we do best, and that has everything to do with technology.  For the first step in Power 2 the People we’re asking employees to nominate local charities that are using technology as a tool for education or to make the world just a little bit better. Anyone can nominate a charity as long as it aligns to our focus on bridging the digital divide.

Step 2 – Fundraising begins

The second step is all about engagement. Dollars raised are a pretty good indicator of support – and Softchoice will be matching funds up to $25K. The interest people show in the charity’s story and in building connections with the charity’s people is also key.  To do this we’ve created a balanced scorecard that measures a combination of social media usage and fundraising activity for each nominated charity. We want to drive fundraising but we also want to see people engage with the charity, share their thoughts as well as milestones and photos from fundraising activities.

Step 3 – Donation dollars matched!

The three charities that drive the highest level of engagement and raise the most amount of money will earn a share of $25,000. That’s a big purse and a huge opportunity.

Cash awards certainly help to dial up the drama. But at the end of the day, Power 2 the People is a way to open things up and find charities our people really care about. It’s a test to be sure but our hope is to create greater transparency, to build new relationships with the charities in our communities and ultimately give our people a say in where the money goes.

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