How Different (and Similar) are Compassion Canada and Compassion USA?

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!)

compassion canada

Compassion Canada Staff

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Although many workers ride their bikes to our headquarters in Colorado, in Canada, they ride moose to work.
Compassion USA staff

Compassion USA Staff

How We’re the Same

  1. We are all guided by the same values and principles, and we are supporting the same ministry in the field.
  2. 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!

Spreekt u Nederlands? Read the Dutch blog here. Or if you live down under, check out the Australia blog.

21 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Kees Boer January 29, 2012

    Amber, with a name like Van Schooneveld, how did you manage to forget Compassion Holland. jajajajaja

  2. Barry January 28, 2012

    You are too funny… eh!

  3. Punardan Madhu January 25, 2012

    I’m interested about 3 paper play sets,6 posters and 12 different cards of Compassion Canada.

  4. Katy Causey January 25, 2012

    Amber, I love this post and laughed often. And I love mocking the Biebs.

  5. Deb Letcher January 25, 2012

    Hilarious! Well done, Amber. Now I’m just off to feed our koalas.

  6. Frances January 24, 2012

    The paper play sets are very cute!

  7. Sandra January 24, 2012

    I loved the posters of the polar bear and the snowman, but penguins???

  8. Jill Foley ~ Compassion Family January 24, 2012

    This was fun and informative – thanks!

  9. Aaron Armstrong January 24, 2012

    Wow, we really have to get you a new staff picture 🙂

    1. Jacquie Parella January 24, 2012

      Oh noooo! Sorry Aaron, it was all I had! 🙂

      1. Aaron Armstrong January 24, 2012

        No worries—I figured we were lax and hadn’t gotten you a new one. I was looking through it and realized nearly half the folks pictured have moved on. Crazy how things change over a few years!

        1. Cheri February 1, 2012

          Haha – our slightly-dated photo also makes it look like we’re about a decade behind on our fashion sense and style … ;o) Don’t worry, friends – you were quite chic when the photo was taken. :o)

          1. Karen Taylor (aka: kt) February 1, 2012

            I personally was pleasantly surprised to actually see ME in one of the ‘office’ pictures – it doesn’t happen very often being so remote! Yes, it’s old and outdated but THANKS for including it Amber!! 🙂

  10. T. van Sijll January 24, 2012

    And the Netherlands! 😉

  11. Kate Sanderson January 24, 2012

    I doubt that Americans walk anywhere much in 0 Fahrenheit weather!

    1. Vicki Small January 24, 2012

      Kate, I agree! I had the same thought. Further, not many Americans walk “miles,” anywhere, in any weather!

      But I think the point was the differences between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and kilometres and miles. I think. This was an informative and fun exercise in comparing/contrasting.

      1. Jenn L January 24, 2012

        I’m with you both! Probably would have helped to explain that 0C & 32F are the same… because 0 C & 0 F are very different 😉

        1. Amber Van Schooneveld January 24, 2012

          I must stand up for Americans and say that I have walked miles in O degree F weather. 😉

          The point is the different spellings and measures: Fahrenheit vs. Celsius, kilometres vs. miles, “neighbours” vs. “neighbors,” “colour” vs. “color.”

          1. Jenn L January 24, 2012

            That is so funny, Amber! I didn’t notice the different spellings because I’m so acclimatized to both kinds, but I did notice the distance & temperature measures. I see your point and I thank you for your diligence & explanation 😉 Well done!

  12. Jenn L January 24, 2012

    This is great! I particularly loved envisioning folks riding moose through the streets of London 😉 I’m a Canadian living in the US and have started my journey with Compassion in the US… our hope and prayer is to return to Canada and to continue sponsoring our kids but then it will be be through Compassion Canada. I loved this little look into some of the differences and similarities between the different country programs.

    1. Gail January 24, 2012

      And in Australia the Compassion staff who don’t arrive at work in a kangaroo’s pouch ride a wombat! We park the kangaroos and wombats right next to the Canadian moose parking lot.

      We definitely don’t go ANYWHERE in zero degree temperature at the Compassion Australia head quarters as it never goes that low but some staff have been known to take walk a couple of km’s at lunch time in over 40 degrees celcius temperature.

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