Recently, I made a statement on Twitter that I had maxed out contributions to charitable causes in 2009. When someone asked how can there be a limit to donation, I redefined my statement that I had reached the matching gifts limit that my company provides. I wasn’t planning on stopping my sharing when I can, but it’s been a few years since I’ve managed to focus enough on others that I thought it was worth mentioning.
What does this have to do with SAP and Enterprise Resource Planning? In one way, governments encourage charitable giving by tax breaks. That might not be the primary reason one would write a check to a worthy cause, but it is a stimulus. I also believe that registered and audited non-profit firms are more accountable for the monies we give them than dropping spare change into a bell-ringers jar (witness the Mayor of the city where I live – http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bal-dixon-trial1201,0,2096336.story ). More on the SAP connection later.
For the past several years, my company has made a report available showing the matching contributions by year, so I can both verify that the checks I wrote made their way through the system(s), and to measure my progress. Here’s a list of the places I’ve reached this year.
|24 Hours of Booty|
|American Heart Association – Baltimore, MD|
|Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MD Inc.|
|Boy Scouts of America – Baltimore|
|Doctors Without Borders USA|
|Friends of WFP, Inc.|
|Hospice Foundation of Western New York Inc.|
|Humane Society of Baltimore County|
|Leave No Trace, Inc.|
|Leukemia Society of America – Balto.|
|Maryland Food Bank|
|Planet Finance Corp.|
|Scouting for All|
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fdn. – MD
Many of these are a result of our IT department holding a monthly charity drive for a specific cause, picked by us, with those who give over $10 being allowed to wear jeans (or in some cases football jerseys) to the office that Friday. And if you think 24 Hours of Booty sounds silly, check the link and think again.
None of the above cash donations count as much to me as the time donations I’ve given for several causes, including staying awake for much of Craig Cmehil’s Doctors Without Borders marathon earlier this year. I seem to have spent much more time in the woods with my Scout troop, and with other local units this year, showing young men how to exist in the woods, and hopefully, how to be better citizens when they’re back in the city.
SAP’s Community Network highlights their “Learn. Lead. Give” program, with details in Chip Rodger’s blog: New SAP Community PlaNet Finance Program to Benefit Under-served Markets
In some ways, it’s confusing how any why SAP chooses a specific charitable cause or sustainability initiative. Many employees might be miffed if an employer dictated where they should direct their own contributions, which I think explains why conglomerates such as United Way have an easier pitch to link into automatic pay withdrawals. But we’re not SAP employees, we’re customers, partners, or the general public. And if they want to tie community network contributions (i.e., blogs, forum posts and wiki edits) to decisions on how they donate their corporate dollars, I can’t argue with that.
The donor targets have been debated elsewhere. You’ll see above I’ve made direct contributions to the (Friends of) World Food Program, Doctors Without Borders, and finally, after some machinations, PlaNet Finance. The latter did not show up originally in the search my corporate office made of US IRS records. They want to verify that these are legitimate corporations, which is understandable given the risks. After a few heated online conversations, I finally received a large PDF file with their 2008 filings.
I’ve got a few weeks left this this, and the next cause on my list is the House of Ruth in Baltimore. For more information, see: