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Becoming a Force For Change

By David Averill July 8, 2014

It is that time of year again where Salesforce.org opens the Force for Change grant cycle. This year we are excited to include the Foundation’s International team that is adding resources to support projects benefiting our international customers. There are many great things I get to do at the Foundation but this is absolutely one of my favorites.

Force for Change was developed to bring resources to our most visionary customer ideas. For those of us who have worked at the intersection of mission and technology for years, Force for Change is a candy shop of projects that our customers bring to us to evaluate. As our customers around the world begin to prepare their mission based innovation confections I thought I would give some personal insight into what I think the core ingredients of this grant might look like:

Innovative Ideas with the Promise of Impact

At Salesforce.org we are in the very lucky position of being inspired daily by missions that are changing our communities. Our customers take our technology and, often with the help of an expert implementation partner, they design systems that are part of their organizational strategy and that create amazing impact. For applicants of Force For Change we want to see that impact in special ways. We love organizations who think exponentially. They think beyond their current focus or mission and show us how with this grant, and the brand support of Salesforce.org, they can spread this impact well beyond their current sphere. Perhaps it is through a network of similar organizations, perhaps it is through an entire sector. The greater the potential impact the better.

Technology Alignment

This may be obvious but if you are applying for a grant to Salesforce you should know how your vision connects to our salesforce.com technology. The good news is that our implementation partners are more than happy to help you connect these dots and think deeply about how to refine your idea to take the most advantage of our platform.

Scale

How are you going to scale your impact in a new way? We have had enough experience with different business models to ask some tough questions related to scale. We have so many wonderful groups who have customized Salesforce for a specific use case and then decide they would like to bring that to the world. However, we have some wonderful, but limited amount of groups who have successfully accomplished building a products for their network. If you are going to replicate your model and share it, what does your replication or product strategy look like. We’ll be looking at the experience and ability of your organization to bring your idea to market. But don’t take my word for it. Here is a great blog post – 4 Keys to Scaling a Solution.

Track Record

This is connected to the believable aspect; if you are going to transform the way that the nonprofit sector provides microloans or manages their homeless shelters we will want to validate that the team you are bringing to this grant has the expertise and influence in this space to be successful. As you move to a later round in the process we will want to see that your organization is seen as a leader in the space you hope to transform.

Technology is great, but what makes us love what we do here at Salesforce.org is we are providing you this great tool to transform the world for good. The best proposals have a passionate person delivering them who can connect the passion of their mission to the vision of the additional change they can make in the world. Adam Braun and Pencils for Promise is a great example of this. This is all to say, capture our heart. It may be harder to do this in early rounds of our grant, but in later rounds paint a story for us that connects to our hearts and the best of what we all believe our sector stands for.

Summary

There is so much that goes into a successful grant and yet in the end we are a group of people lucky enough to hear about your amazing ideas to transform the world. Inevitably we all end the day with the desire to do more, the desire to accelerate additional missions, the desire to provide more resources than we have available. We can’t wait to hear what you have in store for us and our community as you openly share your ideas through this process. Don’t worry about being perfect on every one of these points.

Finally, thank you for being a force for change and may the best ideas, that will bring about the most transformative changes to our communities, win.

Force for Change Application Process