There has been a lot of talk in the last year or so about North America needing more developers. Regardless of whether or not that's true (it's not), I honestly believe that we need more developers who care about their community.
Let's face facts: we (Canadian developers) are a priveleged lot.
If you are billing Canadian clients $50/hour, your annual income* is (at least) equal to the average household income of around 76,000.
A Canadian consultant billing an American client $100USD/hour just got a 10% raise in the last month. For free. Their daily raise is almost equal to what someone on minimum wage makes in a day.
So don't tell me we're not priveleged. But we are special. And needed.
Whether you are someone dedicated to the cause who spends free time watching Pluralsight videos and honing your skills, or the developer stuck in a boring job who only shows up at work to collect a paycheque and spends free time racing motorbikes, you are still needed.
I am consistently amazed (or perhaps frightened) by how non-profit organizations here (and around the world) deal with technology. They are doing good work and often stumble along with a mismash of Excel spreadsheets, random free websites, and mostly just clueless best intentions. They can use our help.
Call to Action
Usually a CTA is supposed to be somewhat subtle, but in this case let's make it very obvious :)
We as developers have skills that can be put to awesome use outside our day jobs. Donating money to a good cause is one thing (and very encouraged) but I firmly believe that we can do much more by donating our time and knowledge.
Because there are only 24 hours in a day, the only good reason for us to volunteer at a soup kitchen is for the experience. There are undoutbedly hundreds of other people who can help in that respect.
But there aren't hundreds of people who know that SASS is better than LESS, or if you deploy your website properly then scaling happens at a push of a button, or even that creating a cross-platform mobile app is possible. Or that C# is better than Java. Ahem :)
Non-profits in Canada need our help and we are in a very unique position to help them. Spend a few minutes today thinking about organizations in your community, contact them, and see how you can improve their use of technology.
One More Thing
After writing for the last few months about what I'm doing with the Orléans Festival, there's a chance that making a page of exactly what Canadian non-profits can use might be useful. Please check it out, leave a comment if you can help improve the information, and definitely share it whever you can :)
* Assuming 4 weeks of vacation and 10 days of public holidays, then 46 weeks * 37.5 hours/week * $50/hour = 86,250. Since businesses have to pay both employer/employee CPP and EI contributions, it's got to be close to $76k when all is said and done. Except you also get to claim deductions, so you're still ahead.
Join a community of like-minded developers who want to help Canadian non-profits.