No matter where you’re from, actions speak louder than words. This September, Bill McDermott, chief executive officer of SAP SE, challenged employees to rise together for SAP’s largest employee volunteering initiative, Global Month of Service.
“Words are everywhere,” McDermott said. “What matters far more — what separates noise from leadership — is action. Collectively, our actions make a huge difference.”
Andressa Fridrich agrees. The escalation manager at Critical Incident Management and CSR local coordinator for SAP Labs Latin America joined SAP in 2016. She experienced the power of volunteering for the first time during Month of Service.
“Volunteering helped me understand how meaningful our actions are and how we can make a difference by donating our time to causes that matter,” she shared. “This year, I’m very happy to participate in this amazing SAP initiative not only as volunteer, but as a leader.”
Global Goals, Local Roles
Like many SAP office communities around the world, a team of dedicated volunteer ambassadors design and execute a Month of Service campaign to meet the needs of the local community and engage local SAP employees. This year, Fridrich and the SAP Labs Latin America team designed their volunteering opportunities to help achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“To motivate and inspire more people to get involved and change the world,” Fridrich shared, “we aligned and promoted volunteering opportunities to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development goals. For example, we addressed no poverty and zero hunger by serving food to the ones who need it. We partnered with the Business Women’s Network to promote a campaign for young girls and help with gender equality. And we created environmentally sustainable volunteering campaigns focused on clean water and sanitation and good health and well-being for others.”
In a world where opposition and conflict steal the spotlight, SAP employees reverse the trend through their positive efforts. Thousands of SAP employees, led by fellow employees like Fridrich, turned purpose into action and created positive impact in communities around the world. Together, employee volunteers contributed more than 100,000 hours to their local communities in more than 900 projects.
Corporate social responsibility is not just about being a team or a corporate function. It’s part of our DNA at SAP and it’s part of our higher purpose of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.
– Alexandra van der Ploeg, head of CSR at SAP
Beyond Month of Service: Collaboration for Good
We are proud of SAP employee efforts to help the world run better and improve people’s lives but these efforts alone will not solve complex global challenges.
“We know that our contribution is just one tiny drop,” admits Alexandra van der Ploeg, head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at SAP. “We want to connect the core competency, the core assets of different companies, multiply the impact that we have with each other, to really drive effective change.”
Together with partners and customers, SAP has expanded its footprint to include more year-round projects and reach more than 93 countries this year, positively impacting at least 2 million lives through digital education alone.
The need for volunteers doesn’t go away when corporate campaigns like SAP’s Global Month of Service end. To keep pace with changing community needs around the world, the SAP CSR organization has shifted its support model to enable and encourage volunteers to get involved when and where the need arises throughout the year. More than 18,000 employee volunteers have participated in projects so far this year. SAP anticipates employees will contribute more than 250,000 hours of service in 2018.
A Word from Our Volunteer Leaders
“Volunteering means giving whole-heartedly to others, making new connections, and growing your skills and yourself as a person in the process.”
-Markus Meisl, regional volunteer ambassador in Germany
“Volunteering means to me teamwork with purpose, it brings people together for a reason in common… Employee volunteerism definitely has helped me improve skills, which helps me in my everyday work at SAP and is a great development in my professional career.”
– Adriana Zavarce, regional volunteer ambassador in Costa Rica
To stay up to date or get involved in efforts that put purpose into action, follow along on Twitter with @SAP4Good.
Jennifer Beason is head of Communications for Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP.
Erin LaBarge is the lead for Global Month of Service and Corporate Social Responsibility for SAP North America.