‘Best Advice I Ever Got’ Series 21 - Marc Benioff, CEO - Salesforce.com

26 02 2007

“I was on a panel about business and philanthropy at a conference in 2001. Alan Hassenfeld, who at that time was CEO [now chairman] of Hasbro, took me aside afterwardMarc Benioff and told me I had a lot of good ideas, but I had to give them more structure. He said I should also incorporate the ideas of volunteerism [into Salesforce.com]. To meet somebody who had already fully integrated something like this into his company was critical. Hasbro has

“Incorporate philanthropy into your corporate structure.” - Founder and CEO of Salesforce.com - Marc Benioff, 40

one of the richest philanthropic programs of any U.S. commercial organization. One of the many things they do is make toy donations to children’s hospitals. It wasn’t something Hasbro did by writing a check; it was part of their culture.

“We ended up putting 1% of our equity into the nonprofit Salesforce.com Foundation, as well as 1% of our profits, which of course at the time were zero. But following Alan’s advice, we also put in 1% of our employees’ time. That’s six days a year of company-paid time for volunteerism. Employees want to work for us because of these programs -they want to reach out and do volunteerism anyway, and we give them a structure. Also, we let nonprofits use our service for free. Alan’s advice ended up being really important, because this is what sets Salesforce.com apart from being just another company.”

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