on Jul 08, 21

Letting staff do the giving on their birthdays

Being open source is all about community and koha. So it’s a no-brainer for the New Zealand open source software company Catalyst IT to celebrate staff birthdays by giving back.

Catalyst celebrates every team member on their birthday with a Good Gift Card from The Good Registry - a voucher they can redeem to donate to their favourite causes. 

So far, that’s added up to more than $12,500 of Good.

Managing Director Don Christie says Catalyst IT’s values are all about community and contribution.

“The technological community that we are in is one where people collaborate to build software which is sharable. It is all about community in the technical world - making community contributions and benefitting from community contributions.”

He says giving staff the opportunity to give to their favourite causes each birthday is an extension of that.

“It seems like a no brainer, and it has more value to people than if we were to give them a throw away present.

“It empowers the recipient of the gift to choose who they send on that gift to.”

And the giving has gone far and wide. The Catalyst team have supported a vast range of charities - from Wellington Free Ambulance (a crowd favourite with the Catalystas) to the Mental Health Foundation, Chained Dog Rehabilitation and Rehoming, Big Buddy, Compassion Soup Kitchen, Breast Cancer Aotearoa, Alzheimers NZ, MND New Zealand (a charity close to the hearts of many on the Catalyst team), and many more (The Good Registry has 65 charities to choose from).

A whole lot of extra good has flowed from their birthday gifts too. One Catalysta used The Good Registry to create a ‘reverse giveaway’ - challenging the Instagram culture of wasteful giveaways.  Many now use Good Gift Cards as gifts for family and friends. 

And the team have also started using Good Gift Cards as speaker gifts for events they are hosting. 

Don says giving back instead of giving stuff simply feels right.  “It is very much a koha environment we operate in at Catalyst, and that is what the people who work here expect.”

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