Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has long been vocal about the need for companies to give back, and leaders are listening- and acting. Benioff has said, “...when it comes to philanthropy, I have one pitch, and it’s been the same since the founding of our company 13 years ago: the 1/1/1 model of integrated corporate philanthropy.”
This pledge urges technology leaders to commit to trying to solve society’s biggest problems by donating one percent of their time, product, and equity to the causes and people that need it most. Benioff has led by example, with Salesforce.com donating more than 53 million in grants, 580,000 hours of community service, and providing product donations for over 20,000 nonprofits.
Other Silicon Valley organizations have followed suit, granted on a smaller scale, by making the decision to weave social consciousness into company culture. Ooyala, a privately held company in Mountain View that provides online video technology products and services, has made it a priority to incorporate volunteerism into its culture.
Ooyala Cares is a community group within Ooyala aimed at providing services, and giving back to local and national organizations. Employees have chosen causes that are personally important to them ranging from The Humane Society to Second Harvest Food Bank. Priya Patel, Sr HR Coordinator at Ooyala said, “Volunteering with co-workers is incredibly fulfilling. It feels good to help those in need, while getting to know the people I work outside of the office." Here at Xactly, Benioff’s message, and the need for corporate social responsibility has long resonated.
Over nine years ago, when the company was founded, Xactly CEO Christopher Cabrera established the philanthropic branch of the company, XactlyOne so employees would have a chance to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. Our user event, CompCloud, is always a great opportunity to spread awareness about XactlyOne, and to raise money for amazing causes. The “winnings” from our CompCloud charity poker night in 2013 went to Team Maria and Relay for Life.
A corporate volunteerism report by Deloitte shows that workplace volunteer programs are important even to those who don’t typically volunteer in their private time: 61% of Millennials who rarely or never volunteer in their personal life would consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision. Clearly, companies that encourage volunteerism in the workplace elevate their status in the eyes of prospective employees.
This is especially important in Silicon Valley where the competition for top talent is very real; anything companies can do to set themselves apart is a major benefit. Integrating social awareness into company culture doesn’t just benefit the organization and the causes their employees volunteer with; it benefits the employees as well.
According to Dan Ariely’s Ted Talk, when people feel like their work matters- that they’re helping people, and they're making a difference in the world- it inspires their performance, and can increase their motivation. Additionally, Taproot foundation found that 90% of human resources professionals say pro-bono volunteering is an effective way to develop leadership skills. Volunteering can also advance “soft skills that are instrumental in a business environment, such as problem solving, mentoring and communications.
That’s why these programs are excellent breeding grounds for new talent, allowing a neutral space for employee training and growth at a relatively low cost to the company.”
Corporate social responsibility benefits all parties who get involved: the company, the community, and employees. We can only hope that more companies continue to discover the value of incorporating philanthropy into their corporate cultures. We’re excited to see more and more people getting inspired to make a difference as the movement continues to grow.