Denver: Because of technology, much of what we do and how we do it has changed dramatically over the past decade. Facebook for socialization, Amazon for shopping, Netflix providing entertainment, and Google retrieving that information we want or need. But beyond being able to give online, not so much in the world of philanthropy has changed.  But that may be changing with the introduction of Philanthropy Cloud by Salesforce. And here to tell us about it is Rob Acker, the chief executive officer of Salesforce.org. Good evening Rob, and welcome to The Business of Giving.

Rob: Thank you, Denver. It’s an honor to be here.

Denver: Tell us a little bit about Salesforce.org and what the mission of the organization is.

Rob:  The simplest answer is that, we were started in 1999 as the foundation. In 2013, we changed to Salesforce.org. Our mission is improve the state of the world, and we do in in three ways: Technology as well as investment– which you might call grants– and then the third way is also community, which is, we get involved and our employees involved in the community and give back time back into the community.

I find it ironic. It’s really interesting. I think that this is one of the greatest times in human history to be alive. If you look at many measures for how we measure progress, it’s extraordinary. For instance, extreme poverty. If you were born in 1820, 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today, it’s just 8%, which means there was a high degree of likelihood you were going to be born into extreme poverty no matter what your race was, what country you were born in.

But if you look at basic education, literacy, child mortality, vaccination, we have made remarkable progress.  Yet at the same time, none of us feels that way. We feel very anxious, and the question is: Why?

Denver:  Before we get into all that, one of the things that I’ve always admired about Salesforce is your ability to look at the broader context of what’s happening in society and only then create initiatives and products that fit into that landscape. Let’s touch upon several of those larger issues first, Rob, if we may, and let’s begin with trust. The Edelman Trust Meter indicates that trust is really  at historical lows. People have just really lost faith in our bedrock institutions. Speak to that a little bit.

Rob: I find it ironic. It’s really interesting. I think that this is one of the greatest times in human history to be alive. If you look at many measures for how we measure progress, it’s extraordinary. For instance, extreme poverty. If you were born in 1820, 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today, it’s just 8%, which means there was a high degree of likelihood you were going to be born into extreme poverty no matter what your race was, what country you were born in.

But if you look at basic education, literacy, child mortality, vaccination, we have made remarkable progress.  Yet at the same time, none of us feels that way. We feel very anxious, and the question is: Why? The Edelman Trust Barometer: trust in media, trust in government, trust in nonprofits as well as business in the United States fell 37 points last year. This is an extraordinary dichotomy of things going on that are completely opposed.

The same thing that’s driving all that progress is that we’re connected. Now, we’re more than ever connected. Everybody’s got a mobile phone. We can see things, and we’re informed about things. I sometimes use this as an example. Malala: if you were born in 1820, going back to that date that I just referenced, you would have never heard of Malala, but now we do. It’s in your home, and it’s in your living room. That’s a positive, but it’s also creating anxiety.

The fact that we’re hyper-informed- anytime there’s a horrible incident, a school shooting; something bad happens in the Ukraine; a bus gets bombed in Yemen; Syria, an earthquake, a hurricane, natural disaster, they hit our phones… Right away. You see that, and you’re left – people are left wondering, “What can I do about that?”

Denver:  Why do you think we feel so stressed, so anxious? I know your friends and colleagues and mine as well, everybody is on edge. Something is missing. They’re worried about something. What’s at the heart of that?

Rob: That’s a great question. My theory about it is, we live in a connected world. There’s a number of things that are happening. The same thing that’s driving all that progress is that we’re connected. Now, we’re more than ever connected. Everybody’s got a mobile phone. We can see things, and we’re informed about things. I sometimes use this as an example. Malala: if you were born in 1820, going back to that date that I just referenced, you would have never heard of Malala, but now we do. It’s in your home, and it’s in your living room. That’s a positive but it’s also creating anxiety.

The fact that we’re hyper-informed- anytime there’s a horrible incident, a school shooting; something bad happens in the Ukraine; a bus gets bombed in Yemen; Syria, an earthquake, a hurricane, natural disaster, they hit our phones.

Denver: Instantaneously.

Rob: Right away. You see that, and you’re left – people are left wondering, “What can I do about that?” The other thing too is we’ve also seen technology, on a somewhat related note, being used in ways that we don’t like. We see it being used to promote hatred, to divide us. Even to influence elections. We saw what happened in Kenya during the elections. We also– sounds familiar– we saw what happened in our election. And then I also think that there’s a third thing going on. There’s a rapid pace of change. Some people call it the fourth industrial revolution. Things are changing fast, and people are anxious because jobs are getting replaced and displaced, etc.

Denver: To your last point, there’s a lack of civility. 84% of people said that they’ve experienced incivility, and the average is about 10.6 times a week. Much of that as you know is happening online, whether it be the fake news that you just talked about, or people just feeling safe behind their computer that they’ll just go right after you if you don’t share their opinion. It’s a serious issue.

Rob: It’s a big issue. It’s actually something that I think about every day. I think about it in the work that I do. I think about it personally. I think about it in raising children. We need to find a way, a line around a common set of values, and figure out a way where we can respect differences of opinion. This country was built as a melting pot. This country was built on diversity. We talk about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We talk about it everywhere we go. Yet for some reason we’re not tolerating diversity of opinions just about everywhere. I do think that there’s a role that businesses, technology, etc., can play. I’m trying to figure out what that role is. I’m trying to learn as I go about how we can restore trust, how we can restore civility.

What better way than to use technology since we’re already connected with technology… but to actually allow people to organize, scale, drive, measure, and predict impact with that technology.

The funny thing is, contrary to what we might be seeing in the media, when I meet people, these people and leaders on both sides, they genuinely, really want to work together, and I think we can take technology and go that last mile, start to connect people up to impact. I think people want to go from that news feed where they feel anxious… to action, and they want to be able to take action, and they also want to be able to find common… kindred spirits who are willing to go solve those problems.

Denver: Tell us what you’ve learned so far because you are one of the most optimistic people that I’ve ever run into, and you really do believe that technology can help bridge the divide. Give us a few thoughts you have on that.

Rob: Being an optimist requires discipline, especially in this time. But I very much am, and here’s why. I mention the fact that we live in this connected world. We all have mobile phones. We all have these devices, and we’re connected. The great majority of people – I work with people on all sides of the spectrum, the political spectrum – we’re working with nonprofits, social change agents, and what I find is that they may sit on opposite sides of the equation, but they all want to do the right thing and do good. They’re not tied to the media narrative where we’re being divided. They’re trying to figure out ways to connect us and work together across boundaries. What better way than to use technology since we’re already connected with technology… but to actually allow people to organize, scale, drive, measure, and predict impact with that technology.

The funny thing is, contrary to what we might be seeing in the media, when I meet people, these people and leaders on both sides, they genuinely, really want to work together, and I think we can take technology and go that last mile, start to connect people up to impact. I think people want to go from that news feed where they feel anxious… to action, and they want to be able to take action, and they also want to be able to find common… kindred spirits who are willing to go solve those problems.

Denver: It sounds to me what you’re trying to do is sort of remove some of the friction that exists because getting back to my opening, we were talking about Amazon, Netflix, and things of that sort; people can do that instantaneously. I had Josh Wright on the show the other day. He’s the executive director of Ideas42. He specializes in behavioral science for social good, and he talked about how we have these great intentions. Let’s say you’re filling out a financial aid form for your child, but then you run into that piece of information that you just don’t have, so you put it aside and you get back to it six weeks later after the deadline has passed. I think a lot of that happens in social good. We see something; we want to do something. But it’s not as easy as hitting a one click on Amazon, and that is something that you’re doing around this Philanthropy Cloud. Tell us a little bit about how that will work.

Rob: The idea came… it’s actually a fairly long story. I’m going to try and keep it brief. Many years ago, when I first came in to what was then the Salesforce Foundation – I moved over from Salesforce in 2013 – we had 60 employees. There was a really interesting phenomenon going on. People wanted businesses to get more engaged. We were getting hit on every issue from every angle and asked to get involved. I didn’t want to let people down. I wanted to be able to serve these people, but there just was 60 people. How am I going to be able to respond?

We were a great bridger and connector between a number of different issues. Going back to then figuring out – there’s got to be a role for technology. If I can go on Amazon who sells 540 million unique, distinct products in the United States, and I can find what I’m looking for, there’s got to be a way to do this. There are 17 sustainable development goals. There’s got to be a way to line up around these causes. If we could put these social issues and go from that news feed – whether it’s a natural disaster, whether it’s an environmental issue, and line people up at an individual level, to be able to figure out, go as far as they want to go on impact; whether it’s giving money, volunteering time and matching up volunteering opportunities; we’re going deeper actually and layering deeper to get involved in substantive policy issues. If you could do that for every individual and then track that back to our global progress on sustainable development goals… Big idea, but it can’t be that hard to do.

Denver:  There’s a customized way. Why don’t you walk us through the Philanthropy Cloud experience? What do I need to do to set it up?  And then what will it provide for me?

Rob: The idea is that, first of all, we are primarily distributing it right now to companies and organizations. There’s a big movement, Michael Moore, the director general of the UN, introduced me to the sustainable development goals, and I thought, if we can map back every social issue that’s going on to a sustainable development goal  or every cause… Companies are being pressured to measure their footprint, not only by the global body that exists, but also by individuals. Millennials have changed the game. Investors too. There’s a big movement on that. So, if we can measure a company’s progress against the global goals, that’s a good starting point.

So we distributed directly to companies. There’s a big solid individual use case within that. So, if I am a company, and I want to have a branded cause that my company cares deeply about, ocean cleanup, let’s say for instance. But I’m an individual who might be second-generation Syrian, I might care about the Syrian refugee crisis. You might have a branded site for my company or for the company that I work for ocean cleanup, but I might be interested and saying, “I live in Buffalo, New York; I’m a second generation Syrian. I’m interested in the Syrian refugee crisis.  And what’s going on there? I can find what I’m looking for; I can map myself back to volunteer opportunities, giving opportunities, maybe even go more deeply into the substantive issues or the policy-making issues, and it starts to intelligently pick up who I am, where I live. The interesting thing for an individual is that if I leave that company, and I go to another company, it will take my individual giving record with me, but my footprint will be left behind. So both win in that sense. So, the fastest way that we’re doing it right now is we’re trying to distribute through corporations first, and then we’re going to figure out how to go directly to the individuals.

Denver:  As you begin to fill out this profile and decide what you’re interested in to get these new feeds, you have something called Einstein. Tell us about Einstein.

Rob: I inferred this a little bit. Einstein will pick up your interest areas, your demographics based on let’s say for instance, I use that example Buffalo, New York, it’ll pick up and say, “Okay here is what you’re interested in, and here’s what generally captures your attention.”  It’ll see what you’re watching in terms of what you click on, etc., and it’ll start to intelligently match you to things that might be most relevant to you based on your geography, based on your interest areas. Like I said, if you were shopping on Amazon, 540 million unique, distinct products, you can find what you’re looking for. That experience should be exactly the same way when you’re going out for philanthropy. You don’t have time to sort through every single cause and issue and then all the organizations around it. It’s trying to intelligently map back the most relevant opportunities to you.

Denver: Sort of one-stop shopping.

The way it is right now, if I read an article I care about, but then I have to go and find an organization that is doing something about it, go on to Google and get to that organization, and when you take all those steps, and you can have them altogether integrated, it makes all the difference in the world. It does remove the friction.  

Rob: That’s right. The goal is exactly that. To remove the friction. I think the thing is that, if you go online and you’re trying to find something, and it takes you more than a few minutes; we are all, very short attention span people.  So it’s got to be a quick, easy, very simple to use experience– for the individual, but also to deploy.

Denver: I remember the old AOL days when you get to five hours, and you get the whirly thing going around. We spent all our time waiting. Now, we wait a nanosecond. We’ve moved on to something else.

You talked about you’re distributing this to companies right now. A key partner of yours from the very onset was the United Way. We just had the great pleasure of having their CEO, Brian Gallagher, on the show a couple of months ago. Why were they the perfect fit for Salesforce? And what has their contribution been to this effort?

Rob: It’s a really funny story. Initially, when we started looking at this idea about, it’s almost two-and-a-half years ago; I had Brian Gallagher and a number of people out in the office from United Way, and I said, “What do you think of this idea? They are like, “We need to do that.” We were talking about working with them as a technology partner, just to distribute our software to. And they’re like, “We should work on this together.” Then Brian and I started working really closely. We talked to Marc Benioff. The other thing too is that we are a public benefit corp, but we’re a nonprofit. I can’t go raise money to go build such an amazing platform from the outside world. It dawned on us. We’re the world’s number one CRM vendor. United Way has over 100 years of basically corporate giving experience. Why not take what you do best, United Way; why not take what we do best, and let’s co-invest, and let’s make this thing really work.

Rob Acker and Denver Frederick inside the studio

Denver: Let me ask you this, Rob. There are a lot of people out there who really care and want to help others, but they can have a difficult time finding the cause that they feel really passionate about. Can Philanthropy Cloud help in this regard?

Rob: Yes, absolutely. You can search by causes. You can sift through content. You can search by causes. It’s very much… the best way I would put it is, it is very much like going on to Amazon and shopping. We want to have an engaged experience, one that you can look at different issues, and study issues, and start to learn about the issues, have rich content that really attracts you so you can browse through it. You don’t have to always have the end result be that you’re going to give money or find a volunteering opportunity. It’s more about: how do I study an issue? How do I find interesting content that informs me of these issues? It gets out of this divisive narrative that we have today that is really trying to take you down a path of understanding the issue in a highly objective way. What that’ll do is that’ll start to pull in people, and it’ll start to give people hope because I think right now, the current media narrative makes people feel anxious too, because the media narrative is highly divided, because that’s what sells.

The thing is, that is pulling a lot of people away, it’s creating a lot of anxiety, a lot of hopelessness. That’s why that dichotomy that we talked about in the beginning, why I feel optimistic because the stats were showing that it’s amazing. When you go from 94% of the world’s population being in extreme poverty to 8%, the challenge is, we‘re not reflecting on that progress we made, we’re hyper-focused on the 8%. That’s a great thing though to be hyper-focused on the 8%, but let’s not make that a negative thing. Let’s ask ourselves: How do we supercharge that and take that capacity of people who want to be engaged, want to understand the issues, make it interesting, so that they actually engage, and we can go fix that 8%, and they feel hopeful, not hopeless again?

Denver: You’re not being a Pollyanna here. What it does is it puts things in context though. We’ve lost context. We never look at the course of human history. We’re just looking at the moment, and what we’re being fed.

Now, Rob,  Philanthropy Cloud integrates into two of your other platforms. One of those is Nonprofit Cloud, and the other is Education Cloud. Tell us about those.

Rob: One of the extraordinary things about being connected to the number one CRM vendor in the world, and the fact that we live in this connected world, has given us an extraordinary opportunity to actually connect those two up and drive incredible impact. I would argue our greatest area of impact is through technology. So, the idea behind the Nonprofit Cloud, which we launched this year, is because everybody is connected, nonprofits can connect with their constituents, to donors, their advocates in ways we never previously imagined… which will drive impact. It will measure impact in ways that we could have never have imagined.

When you think about that, whether you have eight people in your organization or 8,000 people in your organization, you can connect up with hundreds of millions of people. In the old days, it was direct mail, it was very manual. You couldn’t scale. You can now scale. Regardless of the number of ways and people are going to change the world and drive more impact. The same thing is true on a little bit different note is also with education. Imagine from a time you are recruited, let’s say in higher Ed; recruited as a student to the time you’re a student, and what was your student experience like? All the way to where you’re an alumni where you are changing outcomes of education.

I’m managing my education over my mobile phone. Not only do I schedule an appointment with an advisor, I might be able to join an intramural group. I might get content published by me in highly personalized ways. Let’s say, I was a Poli-Sci major. Somebody is coming, a former Speaker of the House is coming on the campus. Let’s target them. Let’s create a rich experience for them. What ends up happening is: I end up becoming really connected to my institution. But if you’re the institution on the other side, you start to have an entire student body, an alumni body connected up to the institutions. You can start to measure what’s working, what’s not working, why are people dropping off between freshman and sophomore year? Would people in these majors that aren’t successful… what majors did they transfer to where they had a better outcome on their career? What happened to the Poli-Sci majors? Do they become lawyers? Do they become business people? These become really interesting statistics that will inform us on what’s working, what’s not working in education.

…when you look at giving, it is a very personal thing. But we also want to be connected to our common humanity. And the fact that you can start to see what personal impact I am making towards this goal. How does it roll up to the sustainable development goals?  And how are we making progress, is humanity? It starts to… it will connect us all. It will make us feel like we’re all part of something bigger.

Denver: That’s all very interesting. Sometimes I think about giving, and it so often is a solitary act as you were talking about before.  Direct mail. You’re at home, you just send a check. But it sounds the way you speak here, Rob, is that Philanthropy Cloud has a way of connecting you to making you part of something much larger. Then seeing what that much larger is accomplishing, and that just absolutely changes your perspective about yourself and about the world, and about the issue you’re trying to solve.

Rob: It’s a really interesting point. You just hit the hammer on the nail because I think the thing is, when you look at giving, it is a very personal thing. But we also want to be connected to our common humanity. And the fact that you can start to see what personal impact I am making towards this goal. How does it roll up to the sustainable development goals?  And how are we making progress as humanity? It starts to… it will connect us all. It will make us feel like we’re all part of something bigger.

Denver: In solving something. When I get mail to help the famine in sub-Saharan Africa, I send in 50 backs; what difference does that make? Millions of people!  But when I see I’m part of this incredible cohort of millions, and collectively we’re doing this, I say: We can actually solve this.

Rob: That’s exactly right. You said earlier, I don’t want to sound Pollyanna here, but I really fundamentally do believe this, and I believe it’s needed now more than ever because I do think that we need to restore hope. We need to restore trust, and we need to restore the focus on what we have in common. Everything that we’re talking about today, why are we different, and how we’re different and why our differences are either right or wrong. If we can start to line up around a common enemy, whether it’s an environmental concern or a common enemy which is a disaster, then we can stop being common enemies amongst ourselves and  focus on things that are going to help humanity for generations.

Denver:  Definite game changer.

Let’s discuss your giving a little bit. Two of the areas that you’re particularly invested in are education and workforce development. Why those two, Rob?

Rob:  I mentioned it in the beginning. It starts with first, we started in 2013; our grants budget was $8 million. This year it’s going to be $50 million. My goal is to get up to $100 million on an annual basis. The thing is, that may be a lot of money, but you can’t solve every problem in the world with that. It’s about focus. When we realize what area can we influence the most with focus and with those dollars, it was education and workforce development because as a tech company, there is a thing that’s going on right now.  I referenced it earlier, the fourth industrial revolution. There’s a great risk that large groups of people get left behind as industries shift. There’s a lot of anxiety about it. I actually think there’s more anxiety than will pan out into reality because when the loom was created, everybody in the textile industry was mortified thinking: the textile industry is dead, but here we are.

Several hundred years later, the textile industry is alive and well. It’s just, industries were shifting.  New jobs, meaningful jobs are being created. Guess where the biggest shortages are with the most meaningful jobs? In the tech industry. Three-quarters of a million jobs in the UK by 2020 shortage. High-paying jobs. Meanwhile, other industries are getting phased out. We have similar stats here in the United States. Let’s invest in education because, one, it will ensure that people have hope, that we have diverse talent, an empowered, skilled workforce that’s prepared with the skills they need for the 21st century. But the thing is, let’s make sure that they’re prepared for that. I think tech companies have a role in also helping universities and other organizations– or some of these workforce development organizations– readapt their curriculum. Amazing organization out here, by the way, in New York is doing just this: Coalition for Queens.

Denver: You also encourage your employees to give their time back to the community. What does Salesforce do to help support those efforts?

Rob: What we do, the numbers are astounding. Cumulatively, since we started Salesforce in 1999, it’s been about 3.2 million hours. We’re about to do a million hours just this year. It’s amazing. I think companies that aren’t thinking about this, they’re going to need to because millennials are demanding it, and I think if you want to retain, attract talent, you’ve got to do it. We encourage employees to give in whatever ways they want. It could be with their church volunteering, in their schools, etc. One of the more focused areas that we have spent time on is, we’ve encouraged all of our executives to circle a school in their local community.

You often hear about the grant dollars that we give out in San Francisco and Oakland and other areas that we have big employee bases. I would say probably the most impactful thing that we do is we circle these schools.  And we, I believe, have seen employees help everything from the teachers who know how to teach; they know how to do their job, but they need help in building a computer science curriculum, and they tell us where they need help, and we help. Or if they want us to paint a school, we’ll do that. The biggest thing, and this is probably the biggest highlight and learning lesson for me was, that you can’t be what you can’t see.

When you go into neighborhoods that are underserved and we sit in these big towers in Silicon Valley, some of these kids, their parents and the people in the neighborhood are not working in tech. So they don’t understand who we are and what we do, so there’s a division almost from the day they’re born. You start bringing these kids and connecting with them; they start to realize, “Hey these are real people. I could see myself doing this job,”  And these one conversations, these robotics programs have just exploded. Sometimes one conversation really can change a life. Several conversations can change several lives. Highly inspiring to the employees and really, really cool. This is the type of thing that bridges communities together. It’s been really neat, we’ve actually hired interns and then some people full time from both Year Up and Genesys Works.

Denver: You give them paid days off to do this?

Rob: Seven paid days off. It’s important. I think it’s really important. Companies really need to; this is something… I want to be careful that I’m not lecturing other companies. Everybody has their own giving model. They’re all unique, and they all have… They’re doing extraordinary things. But what we realize is that people are really busy right now. They have families; they’ve got jobs, but if they are really going to be passionate about their work, there’s always something missing. The only way to really give them the opportunity to give back is give them seven paid days off. Otherwise, they just can’t take the time. They can’t justify it.

The other thing that we do with that is we will measure it. So when you go to these big company kickoffs, we might be celebrating: Here’s the top sales person… here’s the top person at Salesforce I’m talking about. You usually do your awards based on that. But then we’ll have the top volunteers. We talk about, just like we talk about the top-performing sales people, and the stories are so inspiring. There was one woman in Atlanta, I can’t remember her name. She was closing out her fourth quarter but volunteered at a local hospital. In the night as she was closing out her fourth quarter as a salesperson– which usually is everything comes down to the wires– She ended up doing an all-nighter in ER in Atlanta. Moved people to tears at our company kickoff. Just that kind of dedication and passion. It inspires people.

Denver: I know from the time I spent out in your office, it’s really baked in. They’re going out in the community doing volunteer work during their orientation period, and they’re onboarding!  Salesforce and Salesforce.org, because of the nature of the work you do and the clients you serve, you’re in a very interesting intersection where you can view the social good initiatives of the nonprofit, the business and the governmental sectors. Are we seeing greater collaboration among them to solve real problems?  Or are they still pretty much pursuing separate tracks?

Rob: Absolutely greater collaboration. Even the nonprofit sector when I first started used to frustrate me. I thought locally in San Francisco, Oakland, I would see people, we’d be working on the same issues, not talking, in our own swim lanes. Now, it’s one giant swim lane, but even more at a global level. I think that there has been more of a push. As things have become more dysfunctional… let’s say here in Washington, I think that there’s been a push for business to get more involved, to help break the stalemate and take a bigger role, both from employees and also from the outside. I’ve seen incredible global collaboration.

We work, for instance, it’s been a thrill to be a part of some of these organizations like Southern New Hampshire University. They’re democratizing education. They’re providing this online education. They want to train and help refugees. I meet with Filippo Grandi. He’s the high commissioner for refugees for the UN. Filippo Grandi is trying to figure out to get education to the refugees. He knows everything about the infrastructure of the camps. How to get all of this stuff down, but he’s not an education expert. Paul LeBlanc is. They’re starting to work together. We brokered this introduction because they’re both partners of ours. Here you have us representing the business community; you’ve got a university, and you’ve got a government agency. I guess you could call the UN a government agency. This movement’s actually getting bigger. I’m very optimistic that we’re going to start breaking through our silos and operating in one giant swim lane as opposed to little silos.

Denver: Back in September, you held four days of inspiration of giving back out in the Bay Area. It was called Dreamforce 18. Tell us about it. Tell us what goes on there.

Rob: Dreamforce is the largest technology conference in the world, and it is a mix. What’s beautiful about Marc Benioff, this is why I’ve stayed – he is the CEO of Salesforce. What is amazing about Marc Benioff is he exposes people not only to the world’s leading technology, but also thought leaders, as well as nonprofits and businesses. It’s literally like a connection point. Until you actually go to it… I’ve talked to a number of CEOs who were just blown away by the opportunities that are presented there.

You have well over 100,000 people there, all connected and looking at the possibilities of technology, but also the possibilities of collaboration and giving… back to your multisector question. These things all converge, and you have thought leaders there. You’ll have ex-world leaders there, you’ll have nonprofit leaders there speaking, you’ll have business leaders speaking. You’ll have thought leaders, futurists speaking. I think it’s really an incredible conference to talk about what is, I would say, it’s as much a technology conference as it is almost like a mini Davos as well. More of a grassroots Davos where people are trying to align to around common messages, figure out how we work together, and how we can use technology to work together.

Denver: Dreamforce 19 is already in the works, going to be in November next year.

Let me close with this Rob. If you look ahead let’s say five years, in addition to what the Philanthropy Cloud can do with respect to effectiveness and efficiency and ease for the individual and for the company, how do you believe it will impact the sector at large, the total amount of money raised, the way we go about solving our problems and things of that nature?

Rob: That’s a big, I would hate to put a number on it. Here’s what I would like to see. I want to see over a billion people on this at least within the next five years. But I would hate to put a number in terms of how much we would raise and by each specific STG. A billion users, that’s what I want in the next five years.  But I also want it to help change the psychology of the world today, from one of anxiety to one that people actually can get engaged constructively and feel like they’re constructively engaged and not watching all of this chaos and angst that’s going on right now. They feel like there’s a platform and something that takes them into constructive engagement. There’s more needed than just the Philanthropy Cloud to do this, but I hope that it does its part in helping make the world a better place.

Denver: That is aspirational and audacious, and we need it just about now. Rob Acker, the chief executive officer of Salesforce. org, I want to thank you so much for being here this evening. Where can people learn more about Philanthropy Cloud, Education Cloud, Nonprofit Cloud and all the other things that you do?

Rob: www.salesforce.org

Denver: Thanks Rob. It was a real pleasure to have you on the show.

Rob: Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, Denver.

Denver: I’ll be back with more of The Business of Giving right after this.

Rob Acker and Denver Frederick


The Business of Giving can be heard every Sunday evening between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Eastern on AM 970 The Answer in New York and on iHeartRadio. You can follow us @bizofgive on Twitter, @bizofgive on Instagram and at www.facebook.com/BusinessOfGiving

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