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  • Get your company to make meaningful product donations to nonprofits

    Many nonprofits can’t afford to pay sticker price for services, software, and other products. Some companies are helping by providing in-kind donations or very deep discounts. It feels good, it gets your company's name out there, and it helps a lot of people in the process.

    Setting: Workplace

    Want to try this?

    There may be some people who want to join you.

    Organization/people involved

    The Salesforce Foundation
    San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

    What they did

    The Salesforce Foundation was incorporated a year after its namesake, Salesforce.com, which provides cloud services like customer relations management tools. Right from the start, the company wanted to emphasize philanthropy as a cornerstone of their work, and this mindset influences their organizational culture.

    For many years the foundation has been offering a very meaningful and useful product donation: ten free licenses of their basic enterprise edition to any eligible nonprofit or higher education institution in the U.S. and Canada (with similar programs in many other countries). Additionally licenses are offered at a very deep discount (70% off). Organizations have discounted access to training and other products as well. (Full disclosure: Idealist is one beneficiary of Salesforce’s program.) Examples of happy users can be found here.

    Additionally, in 2009, Salesforce changed the way the income stream functioned. The profits from Salesforce products purchased by nonprofits now goes back into the foundation instead of the company, to support their charitable programming.

    You can see the specifics of the program here.

    How you can do it

    The great thing about this idea is that it’s so adaptable to your own setting. Here are some tips to get started:

    Beyond product donations, Salesforce also offers resources for companies looking to build their own philanthropy programs. You can learn more here.

    Impact

    More than 20,000 nonprofits and higher ed institutions participate in Salesforce’s product donation program. Plus, in 2013 revenue generated from nonprofit clients created $15 million in grants that was put back into the community.

    Photo credit: Salesforce on YouTube

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