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Daniel Restrepo “Volunteering is just another way of showing solidarity. It’s a matter of giving your time”

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Solidarity is a part of everyone’s lives in one way or another, especially at this time of the year. They’re days where we give, share, and spend time with our loved ones. At Fundación MAPFRE we carry out different projects, like “Sé Solidario,” which seek to bring out the best in people: their sense of solidarity. We spoke about it with Daniel Restrepo, Manager of Social Action at Fundación MAPFRE, who explained the great work carried out by the Fundación and its social action projects.

Fundación MAPFRE defines solidarity as “putting yourself in another person’s shoes to help them, and having empathy, especially in difficult situations,” and that is exactly the mission of its “Sé Solidario” project:

“Sé Solidario seeks to strengthen the spirit of solidarity that all of us have, a key aspect of our society, by giving support and helping to develop the projects of small associations and not-for-profit organizations, not only financially, but through a structured and efficient program that helps them achieve their objectives. Solidarity is part of our DNA, and we want to show it to other companies we work with on a daily basis,” stated Restrepo.

The “Sé Solidario” project has different levers and initiatives. As Restrepo explained, it all started with a dream: to make it possible for people to collaborate on projects and initiatives through microdonations. And this dream has come true. The last Christmas campaign for Ukrainian refugees raised more than €30,000 through microdonations and the money raised at Fundación MAPFRE’s solidarity market stands. In addition, guaranteeing that the beneficiaries directly receive all the money raised, mainly through small not-for-profit organizations, is very important to the foundation.

“Sé Solidario” helps companies channel their spirit of solidarity and launch Corporate Social Responsibility programs. We asked Restrepo how they help these companies and he explained that “volunteering is just another way of showing solidarity. It’s a matter of giving your time, a very precious and important resource for us. Because aside from economic resources, nothing gives more support than people being close and committed to others.”

“That’s why, at Fundación MAPFRE, we seek to be facilitators for other collectives and companies so that they can take part in the enormously important activity of volunteering.” We’ve become volunteering project facilitators for other companies by offering them our program, experience, management tools, and activities. This way we can multiply our own social action. There are currently six companies participating in our Volunteering program apart from MAPFRE Group, including very important ones like Securitas Direct, Atos, and Michelin,” Restrepo asserted.

Daniel also explained to us what being a “solidarity collaborator” consists of, and how to take part in this “chain of solidarity”: “being a Fundación MAPFRE solidarity collaborator involves a long-term commitment to a social cause. It also involves a commitment to small Spanish not-for-profit organizations that we channel all of this solidarity through. Many of these small not-for-profit organizations arose from needs that weren’t being met, compelling them to build synergies and find effective solutions among all of us. That’s why we all belong to the chain of solidarity. We share a common DNA of solidarity that we need to spread to the rest of society.”

Lastly, we wanted to ask him what message he would send to people who want to help, but don’t know how. The Fundación suggested that anyone who wants to volunteer or help in any way should always go to the professionals, that is, not-for-profit organizations. Social problems are very complex, and professionals are precisely the people that know the best thing to do in each situation. They create action plans using different strategies, and there is definitely room to carry out a lot of work to help those most in need.

At MAPFRE we support small associations, foundations, and institutions with the aim of helping more people get out of situations of exclusion. Because together we can achieve a fairer, more egalitarian, and more supportive world.