Everyone pitching in: Volunteer work at Audi
CSR in action at Audi: When helpfulness doesn’t just come in waves
On February 24, the day Anna Demchenko’s homeland was attacked, her telephone didn’t stop ringing for one minute. Relatives and friends in Ukraine described the situation on site, and her colleagues from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm asked how they could help. At the same time, the sales employee was busy trying to get her sister and her two small children out of the war zone and to her home.
Together with a small team and in collaboration with the charitable organization Round Table Ingolstadt, Demchenko set up an aid campaign. Volunteers coordinated material donations, organized provisional storage space and labeled boxes. Two trucks full of aid supplies made their way to the Polish-Ukrainian border a short time later to hand over the valuable cargo to a donation distribution center.
Volunteer work: Ten years of Audi volunteers
These days, a lot of Audi employees are getting involved like Anna Demchenko – on behalf not only of those fleeing Ukraine, but also of those who want to stay. Volunteer work at the four rings is not only a priority – it’s also got a long tradition behind it.
In 2012, the company hosted its first Volunteer Day under the motto “Audi Ehrensache”. This was a day in which employees could do volunteer work for social projects in the regions around their locations. Since then, a massive, seemingly unending portfolio of various offerings has arisen from this singular event.
“Voluntary engagement is a crucial component of our corporate citizenship strategy, with which the company takes social responsibility as a good neighbor at its production locations worldwide,” said Board Member for Human Resources Sabine Maaßen. “It’s always impressive to see how many different projects the Audi employees are involved in in their free time. It’s very important to us as a company to foster and support this.”
With the Team Spirit initiative, for example, Audi employees can get involved with company donations. Every Team Spirit initiative has a different motto. In 2021, for instance, school support organizations got a total of 120,000 euros in donations following employees’ suggestions. The donations consequently cover a multitude of social topics – including sports, culture, education and, due to current events in 2022, aid for Ukraine.
Good neighbor: Painting walls and supporting children’s homes
Every year, there are an average of around 40 team initiatives in which Audi teams hold workshops or get involved in social institutions in their free time. Volunteer Days are also held every two years – including internationally.
On these days, hundreds of Audi employees help out at social institutions in their regions. They hold lectures, help with language learning and paint walls at children’s homes – like Adél Csobolya, a personal secretary at Audi Hungaria. “The children’s home in Győr is not in good condition,” she said. “The children are separated from their parents, from their families, and I wanted to do something for them.”
Corporate citizenship at Audi: Engage, educate, empower
To create guidelines for the very diverse forms of charitable involvement, Audi developed an international corporate citizenship strategy in 2021. “This way, we ensure that we’re universally perceived as a good neighbor at our production locations worldwide,” said Sabine Maaßen. To that end, Audi focuses on three fields – engage, educate and empower.
Corporate citizenship officers at the locations ensure that aid and involvement get exactly where they’re most urgently needed. At the same time, everyone involved exchanges knowledge and benefits from their strong networking. The clearly formulated corporate citizenship strategy also helps with exchange with regional external contact partners.
It’s clearly comprehensible for everyone involved that Audi, as an international corporation, sets uniform strategic standards and thus concentrates on specific topics. Yet there’s still enough room to maneuver for local particularities.
Social projects for volunteer work: Audi’s engagement platform
In the future, Audi employees will not lack ideas on how to help people, animals or organizations. Since 2021, employees have been able to find numerous projects they can voluntarily get involved in on the engagement platform audi.vostel.de. This benefits both the Audi employees looking for opportunities to help and the institutions and regions looking for volunteers.