Charity is a powerful thing; by helping others make their lives better, you feel empowered yourself.
Corporate philanthropy improves morale – both for employees and for recipients, it benefits your local community, it helps to save the planet and it encourages others to do the same. Everyone wins.
Today, the 5th of September, Software AG marks the United Nations' International Day of Charity by celebrating the good-hearted deeds of our own employees. And by offering some tips – based on our own experiences - on how you, too, can do good to feel good.
First, choose things that interest and excite your team.
For our India team, headed by Padma Reddy, COO of R&D, it was the power of sports. Sports often act as a barrier-breaking, transformative tool for the differently abled in our society. To this end, Team India partnered with Astha, which empowers differently abled people to transform their lives through para-sports, education and by exercising their voting rights.
An amazing €10,000 was donated to Astha in August for organizing wheelchair tennis Open Tournaments in Bangalore. They did this through our principal charity, the MoveYourFeet Campaign, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017.
Second, think about what time or skills you have to offer.
At Christmas in 2019, our Bracknell, UK office decided its most useful skill was eating. Our colleagues organized their “Christmas Jumper Day” and ran a mince pies competition. They blind tasted a selection of mince pies from different local supermarkets, in exchange for £2 each for the “Save The Children" charity.
A really good event and a brilliant cause.
Sometimes all you can do is send money and hope. In January 2020, the world was stunned by the devastation of the Australian wildfires, and frustrated by the inability to be there and physically help. With thousands of people displaced and billions of animals killed, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and cockatoos, we wanted to do something.
So, our CPO Board Area Leadership Team, headed by CPO Stefan Sigg, organized kick-off donations of €10,000 to be split between the WWF’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund and the Australian Red Cross. And they made it easy for the rest of us around the world to donate too. We felt better for having helped, even a little bit.
Finally - research, research, research.
Look to other organizations to see how they give back. Ask your friends what charities they support. Think about what is important to you – is it animal welfare? The environment? Then come up with ideas of your own.
Talk to your HR department to piggyback on initiatives that the company already supports. In our case, that is MoveYourFeet. Since 2007, our running community has run/walked/cycled over 105,000 kilometers in total and more than €330,000 has been distributed to different charities.
In 2019, of course, Covid-19 has been a major barrier to our team MoveYourFeet events. But our Darmstadt, Germany HQ still wanted to help people in need. They arranged their first 5k virtual run via a smart app (viRace). This enabled us to donate €4,000 to support Darmstadt and its twin city Brescia's people in need. Despite Covid-19, in 2019 we added another 10,000 kilometers to MoveYourFeet and we plan to do many more virtual races and events.
Give back to the world
Another example is our Give Back to the World day , where all of us in the Software AG family dedicate one day per year to social or environmental projects that make our world a better place – because Software AG cares.
Recently, I had the pleasure of handing over a check to the Gutenberg School in Darmstadt-Eberstadt, to support our efforts to ensure that students have access to digital education. This is another great example of our purpose – connecting technology and people for a smarter tomorrow - and a wonderful opportunity to help our talents of tomorrow.
A history of benevolence
Software AG has charity in its very DNA. The Software AG Foundation (SAGST) is an independent charitable foundation and is the principal shareholder in our company. The company and the foundation were founded by Dr. h. c. Peter Schnell, who - in the 1990's - transferred his company shares to the foundation.
Since its founding, SAGST has used the profits on its over €1.2 billion in assets to support projects in the areas of education, children/youth, assistance for the elderly and individuals with disabilities – as well as anthroposophic, scientific- and practically-oriented projects in nature and agriculture.
We live in a world of living connections, and charity is one of the most meaningful connections you can make. Have a great International Day of Charity and please share with us how you give back to the world.