Generous Microsoft partners and staff deserve a huge pat on the back after raising a whopping £60,000 for selected UK charities in just a few hours.
Last week, the software giant's UK SMS&P team took on a Christmas Charity Challenge with a difference to create five Christmas-themed products – cards, decorations, mince pies, stockings and wreaths – all of which were produced, marketed and sold within two hours.
Charities chosen included MacMillan Cancer Support, the NSPCC, The Shooting Star Children's Hospice, Dreams come True and Cancer Research UK.
The total amount generated in the afternoon was more than £30,000, which was instantly doubled by Microsoft.
Shaun Frohlich, director of partner sales at Microsoft, spearheaded the charity day. "It really was a team-building exercise with a difference," he told CRN.
"We had a debate as to whether we should have a Christmas party for all the staff, or whether individual teams should have their own celebration, but decided to take it to another level. There was a definite element of surprise to the day; only a handful of people knew what was in store."
Once the whole SMS&P team was assembled in one room, the day's activities were revealed.
"Five people had to pitch for support for their charities, and everybody was divided into teams of 30 or so to create their particular product. Some were doubtful they could finish all the work in an afternoon, but they surprised themselves and showed a huge amount of creativity," Frohlich added.
Frohlich said Microsoft's channel partners should be praised for their generosity.
"None of the teams involved were allowed to beg for donations – they had to sell their products, and we had people ringing up our partners and distributors constantly trying to sell," he said. "Many individuals were so generous which was wonderful – I hope some of the donations came from company funds and not personal pockets as they would have created quite a large hole!
"At the end of the day, the charities were absolutely delighted when we told them what had been raised, and the team felt they had really achieved something."
A representative from Macmillan said: "Thanks to [Microsoft's] support and generosity we can continue to achieve our ambitions of reaching everyone affected by cancer."
The NSPCC said: "What a Christmas present. This is the best possible news. On behalf of all at the NSPCC and children [Microsoft] will help, a big thank you."
Shooting Star Children's Hospice said: "We're delighted and inspired by what was achieved. You have enabled us to fund a care assistant for one year – helping 260 children and their families."
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