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Philanthropy Cloud uses technology to help companies, employees connect with charities

sfpc_horizontallogo_rgb_webCompanies searching for a way to help connect employees looking for charities to donate or volunteer with in their community will have a new platform to find information about the organization in the spring of 2019.

The United Way of Central Maryland is launching Philanthropy Cloud, a platform from The platform works to connect companies and employees with charities and causes that are important to them.

Elise Lee, senior vice president and chief innovation officer for United Way of Central Maryland, said Philanthropy Cloud will serve as a marketplace to bring the groups together. The platform allows companies to help employees find organizations and causes they want to support. It will also allow nonprofits to tell their stories as well.

“It’s a new time in the world for giving,” Lee said. “This is a new platform. It’s one of the most exciting times in United Way history.”

Lee said Salesforce, which is the No. 1 customer-relationship-management software company, has been working with the United Way worldwide to put the platform together. The platform was officially announced in September and is currently being rolled out across the United States. The United Way of Central Maryland is in the second group of markets to launch the platform in its region.

Philanthropy Cloud will allow companies, and employees, to find and share information about organizations and causes they are interested in easily. For example, Read Across America takes place each March and a company would be able to use Philanthropy Cloud’s database to find organizations and events to share with employees looking to get involved.

Lee said Salesforce uses artificial intelligence to gather information that a user may be interested in and it will share that stories and information with the user. She said she can also see the platform being a big part of #GivingTuesday campaigns and said Salesforce has connected with the #GivingTuesday organizers to explore ways to make this work.

While organizations like the United Way have worked on engaging younger professionals through programs like Emerging Leaders United, Lee said Philanthropy Cloud is another tool that can help connect all employees.

“There is a lot of disruption going on today,” Lee said. “There are now three or four generations in the workplace. This helps bring them together.”

There will be a cost for organizations to be included in Philanthropy Cloud and demonstrations to organizations locally are starting now. The response in markets that have already launched has been positive and Lee said from excitement is building locally in early discussions with organizations.

As companies are focused on employee retention and providing resources for employees to give back to their communities, Philanthropy Cloud can help with that, Lee said. It also makes the process of tracking and reporting how employees donated and spend time volunteering easier.

Lee said she hopes a wide variety of organizations use the platform and sees an opportunity for organizations to share information and experiences around it.

“I see this as a working unit between companies,” Lee said. “We’ll be able to share trends and data across markets.”

Philanthropy Cloud will eventually become a place for individuals looking for volunteer opportunities to find an organization or cause to support. That’s part of the next phase of the platform, Lee said.

“We want this to be the place where people go,” she said. “The one place for them to go.”

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