COVID-19: Responding To a Community Crisis

The devastating spread of COVID-19 has forced many of us into our homes and onto our personal devices. Those who have the ability to stay at home and work virtually are equipped to overcome many of the obstacles that we are experiencing within our current reality. However, this is not a luxury for many and has created even more vulnerability within our communities.

When we look at the socioeconomic impact, we see a disparate number of low-income communities affected by the spread of coronavirus. In an analysis of COVID-19 cases by income percentile within New York City by TIME, more than 36% of total confirmed coronavirus cases are citizens in the bottom 25% of incomes while only 10% of cases have been confirmed in the top 25% of household incomes. Why are lower-income populations affected in disproportionate numbers by the coronavirus? Let’s start with basic needs: a lack of access to affordable medical care, childcare, housing, as well as a higher population of essential employee statuses, are all contributing factors to a higher risk of contracting the virus.

As we continue to witness the tragic effects of COVID-19 on lower-income populations around the world, we must ask the question: How are organizations that support lower-income populations being affected? In March, Charities Aid Foundation of America polled more than 500 non-profit organizations across 93 countries, and more than 90% of those organizations have reported being negatively impacted by COVID-19; Sixty-seven percent of these organizations have seen a reduction of contributions, 56% have experienced disruptions within client relations, 48% have experience staffing disruptions, and almost 34% have experienced an increase of costs.  The need for community support is greater than ever and, in turn, the organizations that support our communities are at high risk, many referring to COVID-19 as an extinction level event for non-profits.

Within the SAP Concur organization, we created a holistic response to the crisis of COVID-19 and will continue to tailor our response throughout the year. Our current efforts focus around three main areas: monetary donations, itemized donations, and volunteerism.

  1. Non-profit partner unrestricted donations: The SAP Concur Corporate Social Responsibility commitment focuses on building inclusive opportunities that prepare youth for future success. One way we drive this commitment is through our non-profit partnerships within our Community Impact Partner Program. Our non-profit partners receive grants supporting their programs that drive one or more of our three pillars of focus: growing digital skills; creating access to quality education; and girls in tech and leadership. Due to the impact of COVID-19 this year, we recommitted to non-profit partners for 2020 with unrestricted donations, allowing our Community Impact Partners to leverage these funds for operational costs so they can serve their communities through these difficult times.
  2. Quarterly COVID-19 crisis support: The future impact and aftershocks of COVID-19 are still very unknown. In response to our ever-changing climate, SAP Concur will be donating quarterly to non-profit organizations focused on the COVID-19 response. In Q1, we partnered with First Responders First to donate protective medical gear to frontline health workers. For Q2, we have focused our support towards MakeSense and its efforts within France supporting homeless, caregiver, and elderly populations.
  3. Virtual community outreach: SAP Concur employees are empowered to leverage their professional and life skills to support nonprofit organizations virtually during this crisis. Now more than ever, people need connection and purpose. To continue driving engagement opportunities internally, we provide easy access to volunteer opportunities through Benevity.   From sewing protective masks, career coaching for early talent, to building digital platforms, our localized volunteer leaders find opportunities for our employees to support non-profits around the world. Hear from our employees on how they are making a virtual difference themselves; check out the video below.

How can you help your community during this crisis?

  • Identify how you would like to give back, whether donating or volunteering.
  • Find an organization in your local community that you would like to impact with your efforts.
  • Connect with the non-profit organization to share your interest in supporting its efforts within the community and stay in contact with the organization as it continues to respond to the future developments of COVID-19.

Many have said this is an unprecedented time for our world as our communities, health, and livelihood are put to the test. We continue to witness the resiliency of our global citizens and the true connection of humanity. We are listening, and we have shifted our corporate social responsibility mission to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens during this difficult time.  As one of my favorite musicians Andra Day says “All we need is hope and for that we have each other. We will rise up.”

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