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12 Nov. 2014 | Comments (0)

Earlier this year, the Salesforce Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the global customer relationship management (CRM) company, began offering its Salesforce1 Platform to nonprofit partners as part of a giving model that leverages 1 percent of the company’s product, equity and time to improve communities around the world. Salesforce calls it the 1-1-1 philanthropy model. The technology helps nonprofits develop new solutions built on the Salesforce1 Platform to transform the way nonprofits manage programs, engagement, communications and fundraising.

Suzanne DiBianca, President and Co-Founder of the Salesforce Foundation, answered my questions about the rationale behind the program, and the broader giving strategy.

Q: Can you explain how Salesforce1 for Nonprofits works, and how this fits into Salesforce Foundation’s broader giving strategy?

A: Salesforce1 for Nonprofits is a set of solutions built on the Salesforce1 Platform that allows nonprofits to manage programs, community engagement, communications and fundraising from any device. With the 1-1-1 model of corporate philanthropy, Salesforce donates 1 percent of technology to nonprofits and higher education institutions through free or deeply discounting licenses.

Q: What’s different about the technology for nonprofits than for commercial customers?

A: Commercial and nonprofit organizations share a common need for cloud, social and mobile technology that provides a 360-view of every constituent interaction. Because of the flexibility and extensibility of the Salesforce1 Platform, nonprofits can customize our best-in-class technology to fit their organization's specific mission and needs, from volunteer and case management to email marketing and fundraising.

Q: How much support does Salesforce provide to help nonprofits get the most out of the technology?

A: The Salesforce Foundation is staffed by nonprofit experts who work with our customers to accelerate their mission. Our Power of US community is a vibrant online community of nonprofit practitioners, technologists and experts who share their knowledge and experience with other nonprofits. Our Force for Change grant program strives to accelerate innovation in the nonprofit sector and to drive forward ideas within the Salesforce user community. Salesforce also actively encourages employees to use volunteer time to provide pro-bono services to nonprofits. In addition, Salesforce’s ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISV) and systems integrator (SI) partners extend Salesforce1 for Nonprofits, and many of our implementation partners have also adopted the 1-1-1 philosophy, donating services to nonprofits to implement and extend Salesforce technology.

Q: What was it important to get this technology into nonprofit partners’ hands, rather than simply providing more in grants?

A: We believe that our technology is our greatest driver of impact. By making the Customer Success Platform and world’s number 1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform affordable (either free or deeply discounted) for nonprofits, we can help the more than 23,000 nonprofits and higher education organizations be more efficient and effective in achieving their missions. Our 1-1-1 model also provides grants, employee volunteer time and product to support nonprofits.

Q: How does Salesforce Foundation measure the impact of these technology donations?

A: We measure our success on our customers' success. Eighty-four percent of our customers report an improved ability to achieve their mission and 86 percent report improved overall efficiency.

  • About the Author:Suzanne DiBianca

    Suzanne DiBianca

    Suzanne is the president and co-founder of the Salesforce Foundation. In this role, Suzanne directs all Foundation activities and serves as the liaison to community, business, and government organizat…

    Full Bio | More from Suzanne DiBianca

  • About the Author:Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson

    Alex Parkinson is Principal of Parky Communications, a communications agency specializing in sustainability and CSR reporting and communications. He serves as the Co-Leader of The Conference Board Cor…

    Full Bio | More from Alex Parkinson


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