The Take: You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job to Do Good

What’s News

Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said last week that she will soon leave the company formerly known as Facebook, where she’s worked for 14 years. Sandberg said she will focus on her philanthropy and foundation.

SAP’s Take

Most people cannot afford to quit their day jobs to do good, but some don’t have to. The past decade, SAP has been sending out its experts around the globe to work with businesses and organizations that improve lives. Nearly 1,400 employees have logged 395,000 hours working to promote 453 businesses or organizations in over 52 countries through the SAP Social Sabbatical program.

“The idea of the program is to bring corporate skills and professional expertise from SAP employees to non-profits and social enterprises around the world to help them address critical business challenges,” said Hemang Desai, SAP Corporate Social Responsibility global director. “Employees act as pro bono consultants and work with a defined scope of work, so it’s similar to a consulting engagement.”

SAP Global Brand Senior Director Denise Miranda participated in the 2018 program in Armenia and helped an education technology company, which was going broke offering its services for free, become viable while still serving the community.

“When I first got there, I thought, ‘I don’t know education. This is not my field,’” Miranda said. “I’ve been in finance many years. I’ve worked in branding now for a while. I didn’t think I could offer much to them. But very quickly you realize: ‘Oh, let’s dig in.’”

Miranda was able to show the company’s CEO how to monetize its services while scaling and pricing it appropriately.

SAP offers several other employee service programs, including Pro Bono for Economic Equity, which supports Black entrepreneurs in the U.S., Brazil, South Africa, and the UK; the Acceleration Collective, which advises social- and environmental-focused startups; mentorship programs; and its Moments of Service, which provides employees worldwide with volunteering time.

For some, the commitments become lasting and personal. Regional Vice President for SAP Business Technology Platform Jim Cusick fielded a question four years ago from a church friend asking for a donation to Water at Work Ministry, which builds water plants in poor areas in the Dominican Republic. The facilities sell the water below market rate to local residents and use the profits for the plant and the community.

“They needed help with organization, recruiting people and fundraising,” Cusick said. “Those are skills I have as a sales leader. So, I started getting involved. I joined the board four years ago and I’m president of the board now.”

Since then, the plant has gotten its own generator and a delivery truck.

“The impact this makes, it’s very rewarding to know,” Cusick said. “You know, some kid doesn’t have diarrhea and can go to school because they have clean water. It’s one of those things where you just say, ‘Wow, I’ve helped somebody else.’”

Ilaina Jonas, Senior Director of Global Media Relations, SAP
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