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A Better Approach To Corporate Gifts: Real Social Responsibility

Something I have been thinking about for a while just got crystallized by PragDave, via Nigel James, via Dennis Howlett

Nigel says:

“I don’t need to tell you there are people starving every day. I don’t need to tell you there are child soldiers fighting wars. I don’t need to tell you that just a little contribution could make a massive difference.

I don’t need to tell you this.

We are about to go to a conference and spend a small fortune on fees, food, hotels and travel. What if you took a small portion of what you are going to spend on TechEd and made some contribution to help someone break out of poverty?”

I can’t speak for SAP, and its expenses, and I must admit I am a fan of the company’s T&E for bloggers program, so I am a bit conflicted here, but Nigel and Dennis make great points.

So what about small things: anything we can do?

I moderated a track at a great architecture and software development conference earlier in the year called QCon. Thoughtworks, which is popping up everywhere at the moment… was the main sponsor. I was particularly taken with its approach: instead of giving presenters a crappy bag full of corporate schwag nobody actually wants, they offered to make a contribution to one of five charities chosen by the presenter themselves. The approach made a real impression on me.

So can more vendors running events please do something similar? Just a few dollars, pounds or euros can make a big difference to people’s lives. Please not another bag or set of binoculars or ethernet cable or mouse.

I can’t guarantee that we won’t have some schwag at SAP TechEd RedMonk track at the community day, but I will make this undertaking – for every delegate that attends we’ll donate $2 to charity. If only a few people show up we’ll bump that that up to $5. A small thing perhaps, but hopefully we can make a difference. I am pretty sure Cote and Stephen will have some good ideas for charities we might support.

One thing i really don’t need- another big vendor advertisement on a backpack.

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4 Responses

  1. Glad to see you on board, James. I will be there for the RedMonk track. Someone mentioned to me yesterday that a good charity to donate to would be the One Laptop per Child project: http://laptop.org/

    It also would open up the possibility for everyone to donate their conference laptop bag (I get at least 3 per year). Surely the kids getting their $100 laptops could use a nice laptop bag to go with it. :)

    Cheers,
    ewH

  2. Hey Ed that’s a phenomenal idea. One laptop bag per child. Phenomenal. I better get in touch with SDLC and ask them. but seriously i love that frigging idea.

    jgovernorJune 28, 2007 @ 4:45 pmReply



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