Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Corporate philanthropy non-news

Don't let the mashed-up graphic fool you, Google did not buy SalesForce today.

Like many Bay Area bloggers I was invited to today's "major announcement" by Salesforce.
The two companies announced a strategic partnership for users of Google AdWords and SalesForce. I read a lot of tech and venture capital blogs, as well as the WSJ, so know full well of the "Google buys Salesforce" rumors. Given the expectations of merger, the actual news is not so exciting. But I was still intrigued.

A merger would be interesting, from a philanthropy point of view. Salesforce created the "1/1/1/1 model" 1/1/1/1 model— 1% time, 1% equity, 1% product and now 1 with the Earth—of corporate philanthropy. This is cool, and good for nonprofits - I know many that have benefitted from using Salesforce's CRM. Salesforce also has an interesting model for encouraging/investing in the development of 3rd party applications - it calls this the AppExchange and Salesforce provides space and capital to 32 companies - essentially incubating new businesses that build off of its software platform.

(The AppExchange is interesting to me as an analog for the civil sector - instead of starting new nonprofits perhaps social entrepreneurs (and others) could bring their ideas and resources under the umbrella of major existing organizations, leveraging everyone's time, money and expertise.)

And everyone knows about Google.org.

So I was interested in the potential merger announcement. If "GoogForce" had been announced (as the tech/advertising bloggers call the imagined merged company) what might it portend for philanthropy? Here are some thoughts:
  • 1/1/1/1 of a much larger entity?
  • More action from Google.org since SalesForce Foundation is quite busy?
  • The non-tax exempt status of Google.org carried over to SalesForce?
  • A GoogleAppExchange for all kinds of social businesses and nonprofits?
  • Google AdWords and SalesForce CRM integration for nonprofits and donors?
  • More giving in total? less?
  • More in-kind support and more volunteer time?
  • Creative new technology platforms for donors, nonprofits, and social enterprise?
  • Would it have an impact on Microsoft giving?
  • On tech support providers like CompuMentor/Techsoup?
  • Nothing interesting at all?
What do you think? What would you want to see happen? What would you fear happening?


Anonymous said...

There's still hope that this program will expand the usefulness of Salesforce to nonprofits. Being tied to Google is usually a beneficial thing.

I have just posted a piece proposing a different type of acquisition: Guidestar by any of a number of Internet organizations. See Guidestar for Sale -- Or Why It Should Be and add your comments.

Petrus Hansen said...

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Caroline Roan, VP of Corporate Responsibility, Pfizer & Executive Director of the Pfizer Foundation

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