Want to Boost the Impact of Volunteering Your Time? Volunteer Your Talent, Too

By Peter Crosby

One of the perks of working at Salesforce is the opportunity to work for the greater good. Each year, the company’s employees get seven days of VTO (Volunteer Time Off) and, since the inception of this policy back in 1999, Salesforce employees have logged more than 1.4 million hours. People get to volunteer for causes they feel passionate about — both by getting their hands dirty — sorting food at food banks, cleaning up the public zoo, etc. — or by utilizing their skill sets for pro bono projects. Our world class marketing department at Salesforce is passionate about music, and we are excited to be using our skills to support the incredible non-profit, Bread & Roses.

Hope and healing through live music.

Since 1974, Bread and Roses Presents has been producing free, live shows and performances for people who rarely get to see them — people who don’t have the physical, emotional, or financial capacity to experience the performing arts any other way. Through live entertainment, the organization lifts the spirits of children, teens, adults, and elders who live in isolation at hospitals, institutions, convalescent homes, AIDS facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and other agencies.

They’ve done so much.

  • 40+ Years of live SF performances
  • 120+ Different Bay Area venues and facilities served each year
  • 600+ Free annual concerts for isolated audiences
  • 1000+ Performers and other volunteers each year
  • 33,000 Audience members served yearly

Some of you may remember Bread & Roses Presents from Dreamforce — we were introduced to the charitable organization when they recruited and booked several local artists to perform on our mainstage on Dreampark.

Inspired by a poem written by James Oppenheim in 1912, Mimi Fariña chose Bread & Roses to convey the spirit of the organization she founded, for we need the roses, the art, the beauty, and live music as well as bread. Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us roses.

The awesome power of inspiration.

Frankly, we’re pretty psyched to be helping Bread and Roses Presents change lives by bringing art to the isolated. They’re doing good work all around the Bay Area, and we encourage you to check out their “Oh Say, Can You Sing? National Anthem Contest” which gives one lucky singer the chance to sing at a Giants’ baseball game.

The contest winner will get to sing the National Anthem at the September 29th San Francisco Giants game and the second place winner will win five hours of engineered recording time at Fantasy Studios! Check out the contest rules to learn more about how to enter.

Even if you can’t sing, you can still help by donating your money or your time. For more information and other ways to get involved with Bread & Roses Presents, email info@breadandroses.org.

Volunteering more than just our time and enthusiasm.

Bread and Roses Presents has inspired us to go beyond cheerleading for their organization. When they expressed an interest in overhauling their website, we organized a group of Salesforce volunteers with specific digital/web experience and had a meeting with the client to assess their current situation. Like many older sites, breadandroses.org had slowly grown unwieldy through the addition of new content and features. Built on an older content management system, the site had also become too complicated for their staff to effectively use on a day-to-day basis. After both a UX and content analysis, it was clear that the site’s problems fell perfectly in line with the skills our team had to offer.

Tough problems are easy to fix with the right tools.

We committed to doing the bulk of the work during a “hackathon” this coming August 16th. Basically, a hackathon is an event in which programmers, designers, writers, and other disciplines come together to collaborate intensively on a project for a short time, typically a day or a week. By assembling everyone in one space, at one time, our goal is to accomplish in a few hours what could normally take a small organization weeks. In this case, we feel we can make a huge impact for them in a single day.

Check back at breadandroses.org in September to see our results!

Need help using Salesforce to increase your social impact? Check out the Salesforce Pro Bono Support site here.

Originally published at www.salesforce.com.