Skip to Content and Partners To Deliver More Than $36B in Community Benefits

By May 15, 2020

How Our Community Impact Model Scales for the SDGs

By: Brian Komar and David Averill

We are starting to better comprehend just how much COVID-19 will impact the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We are already seeing significant “SDG setbacks” across a number of SDGs, including goals to reduce poverty (SDG 1), hunger (SDG 2), and violence against women (SDG 5), expand access to quality education (SDG 4), and many more. We are hopeful, however, the pandemic’s long-term effect will accelerate the shift not only to better capitalism, but more enlightened leadership, which would help public and nonprofit agencies demonstrate results and improve outcomes.

Society inevitably will be looking for new models to help bridge the current $2.5 trillion annual SDG financing gap, which represents the difference between the $3.3-$4.5 trillion per year that needs to be mobilized and today’s level of both public and private investment. One model that we believe can continue to help bridge this gap is the Community Impact model initiated by the community. In short, our Community Impact model provides free and discounted purpose-built technology and other capacity-building resources at scale to help social impact organizations bridge their Impact Gap, the difference between their current progress and their potential performance.

The Community Impact model is poised to deliver more than $36 billion in community benefits by 2024, according to a new commissioned IDC study released today*. Below, we share more about how the Community Impact model delivers community benefits, including jobs and additional revenue for our customers and partners, and what this means for advancing the SDGs and driving impact scale.

What Does $36 Billion in Community Benefits Really Mean?’s Community Impact model is the engine behind the creation of more than $36 billion in new economic community benefits across the world by 2024. Economic community benefit refers to the additional revenue and jobs that will open up for the social sector as organizations take advantage of cloud computing through their use of purpose-built technology and other resources to help bridge their Impact Gap.** Community Impact Model’s Community Impact model aims to close the impact gap to help advance progress faster on the SDGs to reach the 2030 deadline.

While $36 billion is a large figure, what matters most is what it means in the context of advancing the SDGs and driving meaningful, measurable, sustainable impact for individuals and communities. Consider the following examples of how the community is scaling its impact:

  • Individuals returning to their communities after incarceration in New York City, Buffalo, and Rochester were 48% more likely to be employed than their comparison group because of the efforts of the Center for Employment Opportunities to reduce recidivism and increase employment across the country. Read More.
  • There are more than 200 employees at Traction on Demand working closely with nonprofits and education institutions to help them drive more impact. Over the last five years, they have seen more than 50% growth in the number of employees focused solely on the social sector. To support this growth, Traction on Demand is helping people at dozens of organizations to upgrade tech-related skills, to deliver more outcomes, and to move us all closer to achieving SDGs. Read More.
  • The BOMA Project has enhanced their ability to drive program decisions and improve performance across SDGs 1, 2, 5, and 13. Impact Hub has enhanced their ability to globally scale meaningful impact-driven partnerships for SDG 17 using Amp Impact, an app built by Vera Solutions, a ISV partner. Read more.

These are just a few examples of the collective impact from more than 51,000 nonprofits and education institutions using Salesforce to drive each of their missions forward and the more than 40,000 people from social sector institutions connecting on the Power of Us Hub.

Innovative organizations drive new efficiencies and effectiveness with their programs and fundraising as new innovation frees up new capacity. That innovation drives more outcomes and new revenue, which creates economic benefits and jobs. The methodology behind the Community Benefit report is an extension of IDC’s IT Economic Impact Model.

Click on the image to view the full infographic. Community Benefit Report 2019 Infographic

Breakdown of $36 billion in benefits for communities generated by the ecosystem.

How the Community Impact Model Scales for the SDGs, along with our partner network, is committed to helping organizations advance the SDGs better and faster. Our community of partners and customers have taught us five critical lessons that we’ve integrated into our model:

  • Free tech is not enough: Historically, many software companies provided free licenses of their software to nonprofits and some education organizations, but usually stopped there. Advancing the SDGs faster, however, requires far more. It requires an ongoing commitment to provide affordable access to world-class, purpose-built impact technology–technology that serves the unique needs of the social impact sector, and extends beyond fundraising to advance core missions with the data and evidence to easily prove it.
  • Human capacity prerequisite for effective use of tech: Affordable access to impact technology is not enough. Advancing the SDGs faster requires human capacity building across the social impact sector. We must create the enabling conditions required for digital transformation by upgrading skills and change-management muscles.
  • A network of community impact relationships: Any person or organization that is working to advance the SDGs alone is simply not maximizing their potential. We must facilitate collaboration across an ecosystem, helping to serve as a matchmaker between those who require access to money, time, and other products and services to drive impact and those seeking to financially support that impact.
  • A sustainable and scalable model: Efforts that put technology at the center of the model must be sustainable and scalable to the task at hand. Our social enterprise model leverages resources across sectors to support the tech, human capacity skills, and network of relationships necessary to make a dent in advancing the SDGs.
  • Values at the core: Efforts must be grounded in values that drive the social impact sector. Paramount among those traits are equality and serving all social impact organizations, not just the largest and richest ones. Our model must be grounded in trust and accountability that we demonstrate with our own impact data and evidence in a transparent way.

Building on the Social Impact Report

Last year, issued our Social Impact Report 2019 that outlined the social outcomes we are seeking to drive and the data and evidence we have compiled to date around those metrics. That report also included our annual social value of more than $1B – the combined social value of our various philanthropic contributions: time (volunteer), product (technology), and grants (cash)–which was calculated using industry guidelines.

This Community Benefits report adds another dimension to the impact driven by the Community Impact model by focusing on the economic lift or benefit associated with the social sector’s use of Salesforce. When nonprofits and education institutions use Salesforce, they receive economic benefits such as the ability to raise more funds, target more supporters, and build capacity to deliver more programs. All of this can be associated with their use of innovative cloud technology, improving on the way they did things in their legacy environment.

We could not have reached this milestone without our amazing community of customers, partners, and developers. That includes the hundreds of independent software vendors (ISVs) that are extending the functionality of Salesforce with customized apps built on our platform and the world’s leading system integrators (SIs) helping our customers implement the technology, giving scale and specialized expertise. Our community will continue to serve as our guide as we commit to advancing the SDGs. is the Business Avenger for SDG 17 and we look forward to continuing to work together to drive impact at scale.

Learn more about community benefits for the education community at Higher Ed Summit Virtual.

*IDC conducted its data analysis prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
**These community benefits are in addition to the more than $1 trillion in new business revenues and 4.2 million jobs that IDC forecasted the Salesforce Economy would create late last year.