From charitable projects in the neighborhoods around the corporate sites or support for social institutions – with the "Audi Volunteers" program, the company accepts social responsibility. During the Volunteer Days in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, Audi employees combine their skills with a commitment to helping others. An online platform offers a permanent service for matching volunteers with activities.
As part of "Audi Volunteer Days", 590 employees at both German Audi sites performed more than 4,720 hours of voluntary work in support of around 70 different projects. “We never expected to see so many smiling faces. The first round was a complete success,” said Dr. Gunther Bös, Head of Social Responsibility, who is impressed by the dedication of the staff. After its successful premiere in 2012, Volunteer Days will also be held by Audi this year.
Play, rescue, repair and help – the activities during the Volunteer Days were extremely diverse. In one project for Alzheimer Society of Ingolstadt, Audi employees planted a spiral-shaped herb garden. The fresh herbs are used by the guests of the facility for cooking as well as for various uses in aromatherapy. “I went back to the place once again a few weeks after Volunteer Days to show my family the project. It was nice to talk at length with the people and to see that they are enjoying the herbs,” said Frank Pfeffer from Convenience Electronics Development in Ingolstadt.
A mentor handles coordination for each individual Volunteer Days project. Dr. Erich Steinacker, who works in Acoustics Development for Audi in Neckarsulm, was project mentor for a canoe tour on the romantic Kocher River that runs through Neckarsulm. With nine other helpers, the hobby canoeist accompanied children from the JuLe youth welfare program on a paddle tour followed by games and a grill party.
The "Audi Volunteers" initiative also allows employees to provide long-term assistance to charity projects. “A recent internal survey showed that 39 percent of our employees are already involved in community projects in their off time,” Dr. Bös said. “Audi Volunteer Days is intended to lay the foundation for long-term commitment.”
To help employees in this effort, in 2012 Audi established the internal "Audi Volunteers online" platform, which matches volunteers to projects. Non-profit organizations can register their needs for support in their facilities in order to attract volunteers. There are currently about one hundred projects listed.