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SAP Mentors often are involved in charity projects. Nigel James blogged about Three little words – ‘Change the world’ and as a consequence SCN started the points for food program. Craig Cmehil performed his online marathon for doctors without frontiers: http://www.enterpriseirregulars.com/16117/agenda-for-2010-24-hour-marathon/ . Other mentors have written chapters of the book “Practical Workflow for SAP” and donated the revenue to doctors without frontiers, too.

These projects have been most inspiring to me and other SAP experts so we started to discuss the topic “Non-Profit SAP Project” in a google wave. SAP Mentor Twan van den Broek explained the concept of a charity day in the netherlands: at a specific day, June 3rd 2010, you work as at any other day, internally you take a holiday day and the amount that you ‘earn’ that day is paid to the charity organization. I think this a great idea but has certain drawbacks: The concept is not applicable for freelancers who are not employed by a company.

My Personal Motivation

For me as employee there are reasons why I in a non-profit project would like to work for a company which is not my employer:

  • At first I want to support non-profit charity organizations.
  • I hope this project will inspire others.
  • I want to strengthen the idea of corporate responsibility.
  • I would like to broaden my horizon.
  • I would like to expand my business network.
  • I love to solve new and unknown problems.

The Concept

So Uwe Fetzer and others discussed several ways to do non-profit SAP projects and now I will introduce one of them. SAP Mentor Thorsten Franz invented the name “CharITy”. The concept of a CharITy project is simple: An IT expert takes two or three vacation days and offers a training or a spot consulting for a company that donates a certain amount to a non-profit organization in return. In my opinion this is a win-win game for everyone:

  • The company gets advice from a highly skilled and motivated IT expert and can set the charges off against tax liability.
  • A non-profit organization gets money.
  • I can decide who will get donation. In fact I’m involved in several organizations on an honorary basis and I want to support one of them.

In my opinion there is no competition to consultants and trainers who offer services in their day job – in fact it’s just the opposite: I think my training or spot consulting will show that a company sometime needs highly skilled external trainers and consultants to cope with difficult problems. Today many companies think that they can omit such help with the consequence that they don’t save money because they’ll have to spend much more money to deal with problems that could have been easily avoided if they had hired a consultant before.

Luckily I could convince my employer about the project and I was allowed to start it with the condition that I won’t work for neither for our customers nor competitors which was obvious for me. So I’m thankful because my company understands the idea of corporate responsibility.

Corporate Responsibility

In fact I want to promote is the idea of corporate responsibility. I’m convinced that in future neither individuals nor the government will have much money for social purposes. So companies will have to compensate and this is way how it could be done.

When I discussed the CharITy project with other IT experts I got very positive feedback but I was warned that would be difficult to explain to managers – at least in germany. But this is a topic of the next instalment of this blog series where I tell you how the story went on.

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18 Comments

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  1. Thorsten Franz
    Hi Tobias,
    That is an excellent project, I’m glad to have made a tiny contribution by suggesting the name, and I hope that I’ll be able to make a more significant contribution by working a day for CharITy as well.
    @All: If you think about booking me for a day and donate the consultancy fee, please let me know. No customers & immediate competitors of my employer AOK Systems, please – everybody else is more than welcome.
    Cheers,
    Thorsten
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    1. Tobias Trapp
      Post author
      Great to read. Perhaps we can even make a common project with other Mentors like Gregor who joined, too.

      Cheers
      Tobias

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  2. Ethan Jewett
    I really like this idea! Though in the US your vacation days are perhaps a little more dear to us, and as a result most volunteer work is done on the weekends or evenings.

    What about the possibility of an individual or a group of interested individuals people (or consulting companies) donating consulting directly to an interested non-profit? Coordinating this effort might be a challenge initially, but it could certainly be worth it. Maybe if SAP was interested in donating software it could be a package deal 🙂

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    1. Tobias Trapp
      Post author
      This is exactly what Uwe Fetzer discussed in the wave and he suggested how this could be done. IMHO we need proper preparation for those projects: Which non-profit organizations use SAP? How can we help them? What kind of ressources/skills are needed for those projects?

      I agree with you – coordination is necessary. We need contact to IT specialists who work for those organizations. Perhaps the key account managers of SAP could help us to get in contact. And we need a list of volunteers as well as their skills.

      I chose a different approach because at the moment I want to help smaller, local non-profit organizations. But I have contacts to european charity organizations and discuss this issue with them. Perhaps I can help others to start that project in which SAP specialists work for non-profit organizations.

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      1. Former Member
        This is close to my heart as I have done a lot of volunteer work for my community. I like the idea of focusing on non-profit organization first, then extend to for-profit organization. As the other poster has stated, vacation time are very precious. It will be great if we can do some of it over weekends.
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        1. Tobias Trapp
          Post author
          I had a discussion on twitter where I was told that some companies give their empolyees extra vacation for such projects.

          Is your company involved in corporate social responsibility? Is there a CSR manager you can ask?

          Cheers,
          Tobias

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  3. Marilyn Pratt
    Tobias this is a subject near and dear to me as well.
    Back in January of this year, during the aftermath of the tragedy in Haiti, I began to volunteer weekly for a non-profit tapping Tech skills.  It is called Crisis Camp and you can find out more about this in the blog I wrote back then called: Geeks Making a Difference in the World.  More information and probably how to start one of these in Europe can be found at: http://crisiscommons.org/ .  The beauty of these activities are that there is already a strong network of volunteer technologists and consultants offering their skills for various projects in IT around the world.  Some of the recipients are already engaged in the SAP world, such as the World Food Program, Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity.  I got the impression that there were plenty of opportunities to link in and provide skills in existing projects and also using technology skills (including SAP skills) help create solutions for these non-profit SAP customers.  Let me know if you would like to be introduced to some of the founders or local activists here and I’ll do the honors.
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    1. Tobias Trapp
      Post author
      Hi Marilyn,

      thank you for your introducing the Crisis Camp project – I think it is a great and inspring initiave. And I’m convinced that this project and the one I proposed don’t compete – in fact they do complement one another. I’m convinced that there possibilities for everyone to work for charity regardless whether one is a techie, consultant, trainer, book author or project manager. It doesn’t care for which industry you are working, if you can only two or three days in a year at a stretch or if you do it at the evening.

      And of course all those who work for charity should keep in contact, share experience and discuss what is the most effective way to help. And I hope that you can help us get in contact and to promote out activities.

      Cheers
      Tobias

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      1. Marilyn Pratt
        Of course the idea would be “complementary” and not competitive to what you envision.  In fact I also witnessed that not everyone volunteering for CrisisCamp was a developer or geek contributor.  I myself did some simple research and grunt work for them by google searching various organizations through publicly available information and supplying details about particular non-profits that had a presence in Haiti, simply by researching their websites and posting details to a NGO database that CrisisCamp created to help connect resources with recipients.
        You can find some of their projects on the  Working Groups Wiki for Crisis Camp
        But to your point about using our own wiki: I’ve extended the community page to reflect your Community Projects CharITy ideas
        Let me know if this is what you had in mind as a start.
        Oh, yeah and did I say you guys rock with this idea.
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  4. Gregor Wolf
    Hi Tobias,

    great that you started this initiative. Count me in to be hired for a day of spot consulting in the SAP CRM area. Check out my Blog if you want to know more about my area of expertise.

    Best regards
    Gregor

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    1. Tobias Trapp
      Post author
      Hi Gregor,

      it’s so great that you join the project like Thorsten did, too. I think now it’s time that we start a wiki page and collect all names of voluteers and their skills. I think it will be more easy to find companies and for a certain company the right trainer/consultant.

      I’m not that familiar with the wiki but I think it should be a page in the Community area but which? http://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/WHP/Community

      Cheers
      Tobias

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  5. Michal Krawczyk
    Hi Tobias,

    please let me know about this
    I’d also be interested in case
    someone would need a day of SAP PI consulting

    Please keep me in the loop,
    ( sap.integration(at)gmail.com )

    Regards,
    Michal Krawczyk

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  6. Hi,

    I would be very interested to involve in the same Charity project for SAP HCM module.

    Kindly keep me in loop for project updates.

    Good Luck.
    Om

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  7. Prashant Dhas

    Hi,

    Its really excellent and I would be happy to be a part of these good cause.

    Add me as SAP Basis Consultant / Technical Architect.

    Br,

    Prash

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      1. Marilyn Pratt

        Thanks Gregor.  When Tobias can do so, it would be great if he could add to the tags to include CSR (corporate social responsiblity).  There should also be a metadata property for Sustainability which could work here as well.

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