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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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