Salesforce 1-1-1 Model: Understanding the Impact of the Pledge 1% Initiative

By Lauren Westwood

Working in the Salesforce ecosystem, you may have come across the term, Pledge 1%, a movement that encourages “early-stage corporate philanthropy” via the 1-1-1 model (product, time, and resources). An admirable goal, but does it really work? 

Well, for Salesforce it has meant over $240 million in grants and 3.5 million hours of community service over the past 20 years, with a whopping 39,000 nonprofits and education institutions benefiting from product donations. So, we’d say the answer to that question is a resounding yes – it really does work!

What Can You Give?

How do companies go about giving back to the community? The Pledge 1% program is divided into four key areas: equity, time, product, and profit. Let’s take a look at each in more detail. 


There are several ways to give equity: company (corporate), personal (as a founder), or a combination of the two.

It’s worth noting that the paperwork required is legally binding. While the Pledge team can provide full guidance, you may want to seek financial advice before committing to anything.   


Fancy volunteering your time for a good cause? Litter picking, tree planting, meal prepping… There are countless ways to give back to local communities, whether it’s part of a team building day or a solo activity.

The amount of food wasted is something we should all think about. It’s apparent at all levels of the farm-to-mouth chain. Fareshare (in the UK) is one cause I have been supporting for many years. Then I have given my time to Plan Zheroes, where we collect surplus food that won’t be sold on a given day at Borough Market (London). We give surplus produce to all types of organizations around London. 

Personally, it’s heartbreaking for me to see good food wasted, and I’m glad of these organizations’ work to redistribute healthy, nutritious food. Where established food chains have strived for profit, there are plenty of volunteers ready to step in to eliminate food waste.”  

– Lucy Mazalon, Operations Director at Salesforce Ben

Time isn’t limited to traditional volunteering; you can also donate your expertise as part of Pledge 1%. Here at Salesforce Ben, Christine has provided invaluable mentorship to individuals carving out a career in the ecosystem. 

So why not share your skills and knowledge? You could even become an ambassador for Pledge 1% by helping to spread the word at community events or via your social platforms – no contribution is too small.

I have been mentoring with Salesforce Supermums since they launched their mentoring initiative in 2019. I love helping mums (and dads!) attain a career in Salesforce that can offer them the type of flexibility they need. I’m incredibly proud of the successful careers my mentees have carved out.

– Christine Marshall, Courses Director at Salesforce Ben


The next way to give back is by donating the product or service that you provide – think free subscriptions, access to resources, discounted licenses, etc. It’s important to take into account the size of your company when deciding your best fit. For example, is it best to donate a big something to one or two companies, or a little something to lots of companies? 

These ‘somethings’ can come in all shapes and sizes depending on what you do. You may have hardware to spare, licenses to offer, or subscriptions to subsidize. 

The lucrative world of tech should not be inaccessible to anyone. When I launched SF Ben Courses, my goal was to offer affordable Salesforce training. However, for some, paying for any training was problematic. That’s why I’m pleased to have been able to offer free Salesforce training to many wonderful causes including Salesforce Military and Help for Heroes. 

Additionally, my opinion is that when someone is just starting their journey with Salesforce, there should be no gate-keeping of information. SF Ben Courses offers multiple free courses including our Associate Practice Exam Pack, Ultimate Salesforce Career Course, and Migrate to Salesforce Flow Course to help people get started without spending a dime.

 – Christine Marshall, Courses Director at Salesforce Ben


Perhaps the most simple option available: profit! This can even be paired with time and product donations to maximize both monetary value and employee engagement with the program – win-win! 

To get started, complete a pledge letter and gift allocation recommendation form. The Pledge team is happy to provide guidance to help you manage and distribute your funds, as well as navigate the rules and regulations for different countries. 

READ MORE: Why Pledge?

Next Steps

Thinking of pledging? If so, it’s worth planning out your next steps to ensure you and your team are on the same page: 

  • Strategize: Think about the different ways you can get involved while staying true to your organization’s core values and vision statement. How can you embed social impact in your overall strategy, and which partners and nonprofits do you want to work with? 
  • Participate: Planning and strategizing is important, but at some point, you’ll want to get stuck in! It’s worth considering the practicalities of how your team will contribute to Pledge, especially if you want to make this an ongoing commitment. For example, how much time are you able/willing to give per quarter/year? 
  • Promote: In joining and promoting Pledge initiatives, you can help to spread the word in the ecosystem – whether you’re sharing updates via social media or good old-fashioned word of mouth, acting as a positive role model will inspire others to ‘give back’. 
  • Track: By keeping track of your team’s activities, you can encourage regular participation, report on successes, and spread that warm fuzzy feeling! 

Final Thoughts

Salesforce is one of many companies leading the way in supporting communities around the world. In the words of Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, “the business of business is improving the state of the world”. With a structure that’s accessible, flexible, and scalable, Pledge 1% and the Salesforce 1-1-1 model aims to do exactly that.

So, if you are in a position to give, even the smallest donation can have a big impact. 

READ MORE: What Is Pledge 1%?

The Author

Lauren Westwood

Lauren is the Content Director at Salesforce Ben.

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