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How contributing to Open Source allowed us to raise $5000 for a good cause

Martin Coulombe
March 31 ∙ 3 min read
How contributing to Open Source allowed us to raise $5000 for a good cause

One of our five core values at Osedea is “Simply put, we care”. This is true in our work. It also applies to the community we live in. We’re already committed to encouraging teenagers in our neighbourhood to stay in school by inviting them to attend our Design and Programming School (check out our blog post on this topic here). Still, we felt like we could do more.

We love the Open Source philosophy. Our team has contributed to many Open Source projects over the years. One day we heard that a fellow software development company called Formidable was taking an interesting approach. They decided to pay their team to do Open Source in their free time. This woke up our innovative spirit. We thought it would be cool to take a page out of their book.

We’d like to share how we put our own spin on things. Our hope is that this inspires you — because together we can change the world around us.

Open Source for Good (OS4G), the initiative

How we set it up

Our concept was pretty simple. We encouraged our team to log when they contributed to Open Source projects. For every hour logged, our company would put $15 into our charity fund. Why $15? We thought this amount would strike the right balance to incentivize contributions — and result in a meaningful gift.

It didn’t matter if the Open Source work they completed was directly related to Osedea or not. Our goal was to accumulate 300 hours (or $4,500) in the charity fund. If we reached our objective, we planned to throw in an additional $500, for a total charity donation of $5,000.

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Open Source isn’t only for devs

There were obviously coding-centric projects, such as Koa-Helmet, Hyperapp, Strapi, React Native CLI, Ignite CLI Plugins, Electron, and TypeScript Compiler. But we didn’t want our designers and other team members (Human Resources, Operations, and Marketing) to be excluded from participating. We expanded our thinking into other kinds of Open Source projects, with members of our software development company donating their time to all kinds of cool things.

We got involved in the Mozilla Voice program, outsourced some of our company training methods, and answered questions on Stack Overflow.

That moment when you beat your goal

We’re so proud to see that our team put in even more Open Source hours than we originally set out to. 75% of our team members invested their personal time to raise money for charity.

Other unexpected positive outcomes came out of this project, too. Bonding was one of them. OS4G created a unique connection between everyone involved. We were having so much fun with it that we launched “Open Source Thursdays”. We stuck around after work had dinner together, and worked on Open Source projects.

This fostered an amazing sense of team spirit. We were doing things we loved. We knew it was going to positively impact our community. Everything about it was better than we expected.

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Our charity of choice: Le Refuge

Helping struggling teenagers is something that’s near and dear to our hearts. We want to help young people improve their odds of success in life, which is why we picked Le Refuge to donate to.

Le Refuge is a Montreal shelter that’s been supporting troubled and homeless young men aged 17 to 25 years for quite some time. They’ve helped more than 21,000 people over the years. Our OS4G contribution is going to provide six months of shelter, food, and social worker support for one person. As a team, this is something we’re all extremely proud of.

This could be your team, too

It might seem odd to combine the concept of Open Source work with charitable contributions. But for us, it was a way to walk our talk and live up to our software development company’s values.

We encourage you to offer your team the chance to be part of an OS4G project. It’s a great way to empower them to give back to your community, or the planet (depending on what cause you choose to support).

We’d be happy to answer your questions about how we made OS4G work. Don’t hesitate to reach out.