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Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud taps United Way connections

Salesforce and United Way worked together to build the Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud, but the joint effort was the product of two distinctly different cultures.

United Way CEO Brian Gallagher, in this videocast recorded at the Dreamforce 2018 conference, emphasized that point, noting that the cultural gulf between his organization and the CRM vendor was the biggest obstacle to creating the Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud platform. Gallagher describes Salesforce as a young, high-flying tech phenomenon and United Way as an old-line social services organization.

But Gallagher asserts that both organizations share the same socially conscious values. Indeed, Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff and his company are well-known for their high-profile philanthropy, and United Way is perhaps the country's best-known charitable nonprofit.

Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud, which is in general release now, came out of United Way's years-long project to help organizations guide employees to volunteer opportunities. It aids employers who use Salesforce to offer paid time for volunteering and to organize their own philanthropic projects.

Gallagher describes Salesforce as a young, high-flying tech phenomenon and United Way as an old-line social services organization.

The idea for this cloud system, which joins Salesforce's stable of other specialized CRM and customer experience clouds such as Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud, originated from an encounter between Gallagher and Benioff at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Gallagher maintains that employers can use volunteerism -- with Philanthropy Cloud as the technology vehicle -- as an important employee benefit. Salesforce Philanthropy Cloud matches employees with the nonprofits with which they want to work. Salesforce built the software and United Way provided the nonprofit content.

Specifically, millennial employees want to pick their own charities. Making their individual styles of volunteerism happen efficiently is an effective way for Salesforce customers to retain top talent and make organizations more competitive, Gallagher said.

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