When new employees arrive at Salesforce, they are shown their desk, given a computer, and fed some information about the daily life of the company. Then, after barely an hour, Salesforce sends them out to do a day of volunteering at a school, hospital, or homeless shelter. The company makes it immediately clear how much social purpose is at the heart of its activities. For Salesforce, it is a driving principle.

Salesforce is one of the fastest-growing enterprise software companies in the world. The leading provider of cloud-based customer relationship management software, Salesforce truly fueled the explosion of software as a service.

A Native Philanthropist

From the very beginning, when Salesforce employed only a few people in a San Francisco apartment, the idea of giving back was integrated into its business model. As then, it is based on three pillars, two of a commercial order, one charitable. First, the company decided to give free access to part of its software on the Internet, which was a completely new concept in 1999. Second, using another approach unprecedented at the time, Salesforce commercialized its software on a monthly subscription basis. It was the beginning of a period in the business-to-business segment, in which usage has taken precedence over ownership. Finally, in a third innovation, the company developed a new philanthropic model, which is simple, engaging, and capable of lasting ...

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