Charitable projects in the neighborhoods around the corporate sites or support for social institutions: with the "Audi Volunteers" initiative, the company accepts social responsibility During the Volunteer Days in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, Audi employees combine their skills with a commitment to assist others; an online platform helps them to find voluntary activities.
Over the past few years, within the scope of the “Audi Volunteer Days,” 1,800 employees at both German Audi sites performed more than 13,600 hours of voluntary work in support of around 220 different projects. “For our employees, living responsibility means lending a hand when people in the region need support. We want to encourage voluntary commitments and are pleased to liaise between employees and institutions that depend on the help of others”, said Dr. Christine Speth, Head of Location Projects at AUDI AG.
Play, rescue, repair and help – the activities during the Volunteer Days were extremely diverse. In one project for the 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 the Volunteer Day to show my family the project. It was good 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.
Two groups of apprentices from AUDI AG helped out in the Lebenshilfe workshops in Region 10 (Lebenshilfe is an organization for people with disabilities). The first group put up a swing in the Lebenshilfe garden and other apprentices took a group of senior citizens on an outing.
In addition to the Audi Volunteer Days, the “Audi Volunteers” initiative gives employees various opportunities to get involved in voluntary work. Team activities are arranged and supported in social institutions, for example. Audi Akademie, a subsidiary of AUDI AG, spent a day at an orphanage in Ingolstadt for example, holding various training sessions with residents and carers. At the Peter Steuart House, children and young people who no longer can or wish to live with their parents are looked after on a residential or non-residential basis. The trainers, together with ten young people aged between thirteen and seventeen, reflected on personal strengths, goals, wishes and dreams with the aim of improving self-esteem.
In addition, Audi initiates various campaigns such as “AdventsZeit schenken,” during which many employees give up their spare time to bake Christmas cookies with senior citizens, go bowling with disabled people and serve meals at the Ingolstadt Tafel (soup kitchen).
“According to an internal survey, 39 percent of our employees already work on community projects in their free time and another third are interested in doing some voluntary work,” said Dr. Christine Speth. The internal “Audi Volunteers online” platform helps employees to find a long-term commitment. Non-profit organizations can register the need for support in their facilities in order to attract volunteers. At present, around 100 projects are listed online.
Behind the name “startsocial” is the idea of allowing social projects to benefit from the great wealth of experience that companies possess. Audi not only provides financial support, but also encourages its employees to use their specific know-how to help social projects.
Audi has been involved with "startsocial" since 2011. In keeping with the “Help for Helpers” slogan, consulting scholarships lasting several months are awarded every year, for which social projects from all over Germany may apply. The basic idea is that even social projects need to observe entrepreneurial aspects and can therefore profit from experience from the business world.
Marlene Kaufmann from Audi Product Marketing worked on a project in Augsburg under the “startsocial” initiative. A new type of housing for refugees was built there, together with a sociocultural center. The work in Augsburg demonstrated how different working methods can lead to a satisfactory result. Both coaches naturally attended the opening of the “Grandhotel Cosmopolis”.