Purposeful Conversations with Davinder Mann
6 February 2019 at 8:20 am
Salesforce’s Davinder Mann sits down with Ellie Nikakis from Vollie to talk about having a global CSR impact through technology, in the latest in our series of Purposeful Conversations with CSR professionals.
Since Salesforce launched the 1-1-1 model nearly 20 years ago, what began as the Salesforce.com Foundation has now flourished as self-funded social enterprise Salesforce.org.
Using people, technology and resources from their parent company, Salesforce.org enacts a global mission to create positive change and contribute back to communities.
“It was something our founders were very passionate about beginning, and it’s something that years later they continue to be passionate about,” Asia-Pacific director Davinder Mann says.
The organisation began initially giving product and equity to not for profits, and nowadays donates packs of 10 licenses. As time has passed, the list of not for profits they work with has grown exponentially – and there’s no discrimination when it comes to the size or scale of the organisation, with an equal standard of product readily offered and supplied to charity partners.
“Globally we have 34,000 non-profits now using our products on a donation basis, and that could be your little mum-and-dad-run charity with 10 licenses or it could be a massive institute with thousands,” Mann says.
“The thing that I personally like is that we’re not offering them a substandard product – they’re getting the same product that we’re selling in a big pack, which essentially empowers them to be the best they can be.”
Mann acknowledges the enormous span of Salesforce and its work, and how its worldwide presence deems a responsibility that spreads just as widely.
“We’re a global company, we’ve got 30,000 employees; essentially we try to have an impact in those communities where we are based,” he notes.
“It’s fantastic to see that impact globally – what you can do sitting at your desk.”
With a large quantity of funding dedicated to education, the provision of seven days per year for employees to volunteer and a donation matching policy of up to US$5,000 (A$6,940), it’s clear that Salesforce prioritises the empowerment of both its charity partners and employees alike.
Much of their work surrounds the question – where can value best be added within projects?
“Ultimately, we feel a responsibility to the community around us and we want to help, but for a business itself it’s an excellent way to inspire and motivate your employees when you’re doing this kind of volunteering.” Mann says.
The desire to maintain transparency has only grown in corporations, looking to cement deeper trust with stakeholders and reaffirm their company values.
The benefits are irrefutably multi-faceted, with a public-facing image of a company being more important than ever.
Knowing this, it would be remiss to ignore the ultimate advantages a company ends up enjoying from these strategies.
“There are some things that are undeniable, like your retention and attraction rate for top talents, that stuff is fantastic – it’s not why we do it, but it’s a fantastic byproduct of what we do,” Mann says.
It’s an important element to keep in mind, particularly when companies feel they should be tightening the leash on sharing their resources.
Overall though, Mann asserts that it’s the moral duty that counts.
“Phenomenal things can happen if you truly get behind a mission.”
About the author: Ellie Nikakis is the PR and marketing coordinator for Vollie, an online marketplace that connects skilled people to not for profits, charities, and social enterprises for skills-based online volunteering.
This article is part of a monthly series of Purposeful Conversations by Vollie, in which we sit down with a range of CSR managers in the Australian business landscape about their interpretations of the CSR space.