I never knew gift wrapping could be so complicated until I watched two of our finance professionals try to wrap a Spiderman scooter. The red paper cast a glare as it was being wrapped, unwrapped, and rewrapped around the protruding edges of the packaging. With a few more yards of tape and several selectively placed paper patches, the gift was deemed officially ready. It was earmarked for a very eager three year old boy.
DNN’s Adopted Family
This holiday season, our office transformed itself into the North Pole with nearly 100 gifts demanding brightly colored paper and curling ribbons. Our North Pole operation needed to ensure the gifts were ready for a very special Christmas morning.
You see, we rallied in support of a local transitioning family by participating in an Adopt-A-Family program with Raphael House. For weeks, we collected toys, gift cards, and cash from employees across all offices and all departments with the intention of giving a family of seven children (ranging in age from one to seventeen) an unexpected and magical Christmas. The family had just transitioned into their own apartment after living in the Rafael House Family shelter for some time.
Adopt-A-Family programs have been a part of my family and friends’ holiday traditions for as long as I can remember. It occurred to me that implementing a program like this in the work place, especially a place with so much energy and engagement as DNN, could be a really positive experience. As a relatively new employee, I never imagined that a spark of an idea could be turned into something so profoundly spectacular for our office and for a family in need.
How I Organized the Holiday Drive
Our intranet (called “Catalyst”) is powered by our online community solution, Evoq Social.
Catalyst gives DNN employees the opportunity to create a movement though the exchange of ideas. After posting an idea, other employees get the chance to up-vote (or down-vote) the ideas and make comments, creating a dialogue.
We use a feature of the product called “Ideas.” Employees are invited to submit any idea that comes to mind. Once a particular idea gets enough votes, it is formally reviewed by management. Typically used for new product ideas and snazzy t-shirt petitions, I decided to post the idea that DNN should give back this holiday season. This “Ideas” feature in our intranet quite literally was the “catalyst” for the entire Adopt-A-Family project!
A Movement Takes Shape
To my surprise, my idea was “liked” by employees almost immediately. Other offices also saw my idea and asked how they could get involved from abroad. Management saw the increase of activity surrounding my idea and quickly endorsed it, giving me the green light to make the Adopt-A-Family program a reality.
Pictured: I purchased some of the gifts (and wrapping paper, of course) at the local Costco.
As a relatively new employee, I was astonished that I was given the chance to make such a big impact in our office and also for a family in need. I continued to use Catalyst to share the progress of the Adopt-A-Family, encouraging colleagues to help us reach our goal, to share details about the wrapping party after, and after making the final delivery, to congratulate everyone on a job well done.
Result: Helping a Family in Need
Pictured: The biggest challenge was fitting the gifts into my modest-sized car.
The results were staggering. Originally, the modest hope was that we could get at least two gifts for each child. Instead, each child had at least seven packages to open! We were able to provide a stylish new backpack for a seventeen year old girl, a skateboard for a thirteen year old boy, a Doc McStuffins doll for a six year old girl, and a car seat for a baby girl.
In addition, we were proud that every child got a new pair of socks and shoes, a warm coat and books. We were able to present the mother with a few gifts, too! They are now able to enter the New Year with several grocery gift cards, a movie outing and enough family games to provide years of fond memories.
When I started my role at DNN, I was relatively new to the tech industry. I walked into DNN sure that everyone would be driving San Francisco’s version of the Honda Civic (the Tesla, of course) and spend their days staring at screens of increasingly small sizes.
What I’ve found instead is that my colleagues are full of compassion and strive for community as much as in any other industry. A deep desire to improve the world is at the heart of what we do at DNN. Whether that is creating a product that gives individuals and companies the ability to create online movements or spending a few extra hours wrapping a scooter for a very excited little boy.
Happy New Year! All the best in 2014.