A 'next generation' platform to drive corporate values?

Denis Pombriant Profile picture for user denis_pombriant May 1, 2018
A company’s support for social causes is an important factor in accepting a job offer for today's workforce.

All together

A 2017 survey by Povaddo, an opinion research and issues management consultancy suggest new cultural drivers in the workplace are being propelled by changing employee attitudes. According to the Povaddo study,

  • 50% of workers feel their company and/or CEO is facing growing internal and/or external pressure to be more vocal on important societal issues.
  • 45% say corporate America’s role in addressing issues is more important than it was a year ago compared to just 11% who say less important.
  • 44% foresee corporate America’s role in addressing societal issues increasing over the next year; only 18% see it decreasing.

It should be no surprise that younger people, especially millennials, expect to work for companies that express some form of social consciousness. When you consider the number of hours each person works, it’s the company and the job that become one of the greatest expressions of who we are.

But job satisfaction is fleeting, causing many younger workers to change jobs after only one or two years. An important study, the Millennial Impact Report, strongly suggests that holding onto these people can be as simple as having the company engage in social causes.

According to the report, more than half of respondents (55%) said that a company’s support for social causes was an important factor in accepting a job offer.

The Povaddo research also said that more than half (57%) of those working in America’s largest companies feel that their employers should play a more active role in addressing important societal issues.

Interestingly, all of this is happening at a time when the C-level job portfolio is changing too. According to MIT Sloan School of Management faculty member and economist Andrew McAfee, in an age of analytics and machine learning the role of the CEO is transitioning from making hard decisions based on experience to one of:

Articulating a compelling vision that will attract talent, customers, and stakeholders; being true to that vision; and managing the culture that you’ve created to go tackle those visions.

The reason is simple, in an age when data was scarce executives focused on applying their experience and knowledge to problem solving.

But with big data, AI, and machine learning, some of those decisions have been simplified leaving more time for executives to work on vision, something that people are inherently good at. This is happening throughout business hence the shift.

As William Stewart, president and founder of Povaddo put it:

Whether a CEO is perceived to have his or her finger on the pulse of employee attitudes towards important societal issues has a significant impact on how employees view their company and their overall connectedness to it.


In another time, this new focus on company culture might have been a serious challenge to getting the business’ work done but it’s not that way anymore.

Salesforce.org (the philanthropy arm of Salesforce.com) has just introduced its Philanthropy Cloud, a product that comes with claims that it could revolutionize how employees and their companies express their vision and culture.

With Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud, people can find charitable causes that match their outlooks, and donate time and resources to their favorite causes. According to the announcement, when fully articulated the new cloud will match charities with volunteers enabling:

Citizen philanthropists to find their passions, invest their money and talent, and drive social impact in their communities.

Built on the Salesforce Platform the new cloud will connect corporations, employees, and nonprofits. In the past, worthwhile projects may have had little exposure and therefore had trouble recruiting resources and raising awareness. But now, a worthy cause is just a mouse click away waiting for a motivated volunteer to make a simple inquiry.

Participation can take many forms. Charities have always welcomed cash donations but in this era of greater engagement, more people want to give their time and energy to help causes that are meaningful to them. That’s what the Philanthropy Cloud enables. It matches volunteers with projects that need their time as well as donations.

For Philanthropy Cloud’s rollout, Salesforce has partnered with United Way to combine their content, programs, and workplace giving expertise with the values and technology of Salesforce. It’s an astute choice, United Way is the world’s leader in workplace philanthropy, serving more than 115,000 workplace campaigns that reach over 47.5 million employees.

My take

Combining Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud and United Way will conclusively prove the scalability of this approach to charitable giving and serve as an example for smaller non-profits and corporations of all sizes. More than that, Philanthropy Cloud recognizes a business need and fills it with an efficient and productive solution.

As the trend of corporate involvement in finding solutions for societal challenges continues to evolve, Salesforce.org Philanthropy Cloud will provide the platform for multiple solutions. It’s impossible to name all of the ways this will work but here it’s good to recall Say’s Law, a foundation of modern economics - supply creates its own demand. We now have supply.

Image credit - Free for commercial use

Disclosure - At time of writing, Salesforce is a premier partner of diginomica

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