Salesforce Pledge 1%: 3 Ways Corporate America is Giving Back

Topics: Salesforce

There has been an important, growing realization spreading through the corporate world lately – especially in the tech sector.

Giving Back 500x378The realization is that all the creation, the innovation and the technological transformation that takes place in the business world relies on one thing more than anything – people.

Technological innovation at the top, when it's applied correctly, has the potential to make the world a better place through its application. We see that in everything from consumer-facing products that make life easier, to government technology that allows public services to better meet citizens' needs, to next-gen medical technologies that are facilitating breakthroughs in human health and wellness that would have been considered science fiction even a decade ago.

But not everything is about technology's impact on a grand scale. Giving back is about more than just building infrastructure that helps – it's about helping directly.

Salesforce has recognized that charitable companies are successful companies. And with its gigantic range of influence throughout the corporate world, it has been not only giving back itself, but setting the groundwork for other companies – both big enterprises and businesses with more modest, local footprints – to do the same.

If you've heard about Salesforce's Pledge 1% program and have wondered just what it consists of, here's a run-through of how Salesforce lets companies make the most out of their charitable spirits and turns good intentions into reality.

"Pledge 1%" … of what?

While a 1 percent pledge may sound like it's just a financial thing, Salesforce has opened up the concept of giving, facilitating creative ways for companies to establish ongoing charitable relationships beyond just giving money.

Though you can certainly pledge 1 percent of your profit to take part in the program, there are other options as well – if you feel as though some factors better position you to give differently. The other options for giving Salesforce makes available are:

  • Pledging 1 percent of your equity (personal or corporate stake in your company, or both);
  • Pledging 1 percent of your time (through volunteering, workforce development and/or other time-based commitments);
  • Pledging 1 percent of your product (facilitating non-profits, charitable organizations and the like with services, hardware, etc).

Contained within each of these four target areas for giving are a plethora of diverse giving possibilities – and you don’t have to brainstorm them all on your own. Not only does Salesforce give participating companies broader tips when they're considering signing on – they take it to the next level with technology.

Salesforce and Tech-Targeted Giving

One of the most special things about the Salesforce Pledge 1% initiative is that it uses the company's cutting-edge technical capabilities to determine how your resources can best be put to use.

When a company signs on to take part in Pledge 1%, Salesforce sends a quick survey that allows it to get a better feel for how the company is set-up. Based on those responses, Salesforce then suggests the best resources to leverage as it sets down the charitable path.

From there, a company receives everything from germane case studies and research to one-on-one guidance to determine how it can make that 1 percent work most effectively for those who need it.

And feedback is central to pushing Pledge 1% ever-forward. Companies that take part in the program are encouraged to share their experiences with Salesforce and its huge professional network; building awareness of the convenience and power of the program, as well as allowing Salesforce to hone the initiative to even better facilitate charitable companies – and meet the needs of those they're helping.

Some Successful, Charitable Companies Pledging 1%

We've already mentioned that creativity is the name of the game when it comes to Salesforce helping participating companies determine how best to give. And that's fully in evidence when we look at how some of the companies have taken part.


Yelp is a company with such a large footprint that it's nearly ubiquitous. And so when Yelp pledged 1 percent of its company equity, that was 1 percent of a quite a monumental starting value, with a correspondingly huge result. Yelp was able to use this equity to found its own charitable foundation, the Yelp Foundation, which provides its own range of volunteering opportunities for Yelp employees (giving 1 percent of their time) nationwide, as well as large-scale charitable gifts for nonprofits and community-based organizations.


DocuSign’s IMPACT Foundation leverages their product, people and profits to make a difference in communities around the world. The foundation takes their commitment one step further and matches employee donations to qualifying 501(c)(3) organizations and global equivalents. Recently, DocuSign has participated in disaster relief efforts in areas affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. They used Dreamforce 2017 as a platform to raise awareness of their efforts, and encouraged conference attendees to become involved and participate in local relief efforts.


SpringCM has structured its giving to let employees volunteer for four days in a given calendar year at a local charity. Not only that, we select two charitable organizations each quarter and facilitate employees and partners volunteering there for two days. This makes spending 1 percent of everyone's time a team effort, and a team-building experience. 

SpringCM's recent charitable initiative, #BenioffMeetJames,
raised $10,000 at Dreamforce for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals.

Grow and Give Back: The New Corporate Paradigm

The examples above show only a few of the exciting ways that Salesforce has enabled other companies of all different sizes to give. So if you've ever thought about the possibility of giving back to your community, but weren't quite sure where to start, learning more about Pledge 1% is a great first step.

Charitable companies are central to the new emerging corporate paradigm – one that recognizes that when we help others do better, we all do better – and grow together.


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