For the past year, I’ve been working for Compassion Canada as a marketing writer. (Did you know that Compassion International truly is international? Our sponsors come from the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland and South Korea, and God is growing our pool of worldwide sponsors every day!)
At first, I wondered what cultural differences I might encounter writing for another country. To prepare for my new role, I watched Canadian Bacon and many reruns of SCTV. So far, the biggest differences are that Canadians walk kilometres to get to their neighbours colourful homes in 0 degree Celsius weather, while Americans walk miles to get to neighbors colorful homes in 0 degree Fahrenheit weather.
But when it comes to sponsorship, I found a couple of ways in which we are different, and several ways that we are the same.
How We’re Different
- One of the most obvious ways Compassion Canada is different from Compassion USA is size. Although by area Canada is the second largest country in the world, by population Canada is about a tenth the size of the U.S. Accordingly, Compassion Canada employs about 85 people, making it a lean, mean, sponsoring machine.
- Despite the fact that Canada’s small, we do have some cool services. For example, did you know that as a Canadian sponsor, you can send your sponsored child a paper play set as a gift? You do now! We don’t have the same paper templates the U.S. offers, but you can write your child online and choose to send one photo, 12 different cards (and, yes, one is hockey themed), 3 paper play sets and 6 posters.
- Because Compassion International’s headquarters are in Colorado Springs, many staff members have an amazing view of the mountains. Because Compassion Canada is based in London, Ontario, they have a lovely view of an industrial park. The marketing team is inspired to creativity each day as they watch feet walk by in the parking lot from their garden view windows.
- Even though Canada is far more post-Christian than the U.S., we really work to emphasize how the ministry in the field is Christ centred. (Notice I didn’t say centered.) Canada even has a website dedicated to educating sponsors and donors about how Jesus is the true difference in these children’s lives, called The Difference Is Jesus.
- Although many workers ride their bikes to our headquarters in Colorado, in Canada, they ride moose to work.
How We’re the Same
- We are all guided by the same values and principles, and we are supporting the same ministry in the field.
- We all love (to mock) Justin Bieber. When I was visiting the Canada office, I met a young woman whose family used to babysit the Biebs. Pretty exciting stuff. (And although the Canadians like to claim that they don’t love him as much as they do, in a staff meeting I was in, one of the announcements was that it was Justin Bieber’s birthday. You be the judge.)
If you want to find out more about some of Compassion International’s partners around the world, check them out here.
You can read the UK and Ireland’s blog!