I spent Thursday morning playing the drums in a blue sequined dress. And I got paid for it. This is not me finally confessing to my long rumoured double life, but another post to give you an insight into life at salesforce.com.

The Salesforce.com Foundation is a big part of why I work here, and why you should. When Marc Benioff founded salesforce.com in 1999, he came up with the 1/1/1 model of philanthropy (which has since been adopted by Google and many others). Salesforce.com gives 1% of our product, 1% of our resources and 1% of our employee’s time to good causes.

This isn’t a ‘nice to have’ feel good initiative that is bolted on and people feel they should pay lip service to. It’s a core part of our culture that everyone participates in. We hire people who resonate with this approach, and we retain people by enriching their lives through the experiences they have with the Foundation.

Every employee at salesforce.com gets six paid days off per year to volunteer for the non profit of their choice. They can either do something that means a lot to them personally (like volunteer at their kid’s school for instance), or they can take part in one of the many organised activities that the Foundation regularly puts on. To encourage participation even more, when an employee logs their full 6 days (using Salesforce technology, naturally), they receive a “Champions Grant” of $1000 to donate to the charity of their choice! The company also matches employee charity donations dollar for dollar.

Last week, I took part in a beach cleanup with www.surfrider.org, and this week I took part in an activity with KidsXpress, (http://www.kidsxpress.com.au/) which is an awesome organisation devoted to helping kids affected by trauma through music, art, drama and play. You will note that the picture accompanying this post is of the former and not the latter. Blue sequins are not my best look. (surprising, I realise).

Two members of my team recently spent a week in Cambodia building a house for a family that could not afford one (a “life changing experience” in Richard’s words), and this week we have a golf tournament to raise money for bushfire victims via St Vincent de Paul.

BizAcademy is perhaps the most profound Foundation activity that I have participated in. This annual program sees salesforce employees mentor and train students from disadvantaged backgrounds (ranging from students with cerebral palsy to those from refugee backgrounds) in cutting edge technology and sales for a week. The students then practice and present a sales pitch to a large group, to rapturous receptions. It’s not unusual for our staff to cry when they witness the transformation in confidence for each student during the program. I tend to get an attack of hayfever and some dust or something stuck in my eye around this time myself!

Note: We do also work hard, but taking the time to participate in these sorts of activities is incredibly rewarding for the individual as well as the recipient and its part of our culture that we love.

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