Salesforce: Non-Profits Need Tech Too

When Salesforce.com was founded, its CEO Marc Benioff had an interesting concept, which he called the 1/1/1 model.  His company would donate 1 percent of their earnings and 1 percent of their products, and his employees would donate 1 percent of their time to a charitable cause. To date, this has resulted in more than $40 million in grants from the Salesforce Foundation, free or reduced cost software to more than 17,000 nonprofits, and more than 400,000 volunteer hours.

Now, Salesforce is upping the ante by introducing a new suite of products tailored specifically for nonprofits. The new cloud-based solution, called Salesforce 1 for Nonprofits will help charitable organizations manage their businesses, run programs, and maintain donor relationships from browser and mobile devices. According to Salesforce Foundation COO Rob Acker, nonprofits are, on average, 10 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to IT solutions, a problem that is exacerbated by perspective donors' growing expectations for increased engagement and interaction. 

While some 22,000 nonprofits already use Salesforce, many have been using highly customized versions. Now, with a new line of products designed specifically for the nonprofit space, the company hopes to capture a much larger share of the more than 1.6 million nonprofits that exist in the U.S. alone, and help them maximize their impact. And the best news for nonprofits is that the first ten user licenses are free, and discounts of up to 75% per license are available for larger nonprofits depending on their size and ability to pay. 

This sort of philanthropy seems par for the course for Marc Benioff, who has donated a couple hundred million to Bay Area children's hospitals, and is leading a coalition of tech companies that are committed to fighting Bay Area poverty.  

Salesforce isn't the only company, however, that is known for this sort of in-kind philanthropy. One prime example is Dell Computers. Not only has the company's foundation given away nearly a billion in grants over the last 15 years, last year its employees clocked 739,000 volunteer hours. Similarly, Adobe has given away an average of more than five percent of its pre-tax profits over the last five years, and nearly $60 million in product donations in 2013 alone, nearly twice what they were giving away five years ago. And it also runs robust volunteer and free software training programs. 

While this sort of giving is a growing trend among tech companies, and businesses in general, Salesforce.com is clearly a leader when it comes to corporate citizenship. After all, they are the only company we know of that actually gives its employees paid time off to volunteer—up to six days per year. 

Learn more about Salesforce 1 for Nonprofits.