When I was appointed CEO of Sage in November, I was determined to put colleagues at the heart of our vision. Their spirit, commitment and dedication – to our customers, our communities and to each other – is a differentiator for us. It’s how we make our customers more successful, which in turn, is how we become a great SaaS company. A really tangible example of that is the success of Sage Foundation.
Sage Foundation unifies colleagues and partners in a global programme of social change philanthropy, helping tens of thousands of people through more than 1,000 local charities. It also helps define our culture, encouraging teamwork, participation and leaning in to do the right thing. All 13,000 colleagues across our 23 markets are invited to dedicate five paid days a year to support charities close to their hearts, through voluntary work and fundraising challenges.
Over 300 Sage colleagues liaise between Sage Foundation and the local teams to organise and support local charities. They are able to respond rapidly to local need, organising supplies for affected communities in the wake of drought in South Africa, forest fires in California, and the Borough Market terror attack in London, for example.
Our tech innovators created the world’s first AI powered service for victims of domestic violence in South Africa, rAInbow. And the Sage Foundation Future Makers curriculum showcases AI to young people, connecting them into the possibilities of work in the digital and tech economy.
From my very first Sage Foundation experience, the Hackney Half Marathon on behalf of a fantastic charity Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project, I could see the impact of colleagues coming together to do something good in the community. I wanted to throw my support behind that, and being a numbers guy, I wanted to quantify my ambition. So, I set myself and the group a challenge to raise US$1 million for causes close to our hearts on behalf of Sage Foundation.
Our Sage community literally ran with it… and cycled, and climbed and many other things. They roped our customers and partners into the challenge as well, adding even more value to their efforts.
I went on to put my leadership team, and later the Sage Board, to work for the London charity Circle Collective which helps unemployed young people. We unlocked our DIY skills to do some essential maintenance at their premises and to revamp some of their office space.
I’m proud of all Sage Foundation’s work, but I must admit to a special sense of satisfaction at announcing the achievement of our $1 Million Challenge and getting a genuine kick out of running through the ribbon to celebrate – at the Sage Reading Half Marathon on March 17th . So much so that I’ve now reset and doubled the target, so this time we’re working on a $2 Million Challenge.
When a Sage colleague, a partner, or a customer share a passion for a cause that’s local to them all, it creates a bond that’s invaluable to that cause as well as Sage. The time together strengthens and nurtures sustainability in business relationships, and opens the door to conversations that wouldn’t necessarily happen over the laptop. And it creates happy, productive and engaged teams – who love what they do.
Steve Hare is CEO of Sage
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