What is philanthropy?
Goodwill to fellowmen; active effort to promote human welfare (Merriam-Webster).
In Why Google is more dangerous than Microsoft last week, I dissect how Google.org, the "philanthropic arm of Google,” does not present as really being about do-good philanthropy at all.
Google does not accept funding requests, Google.org underscores. Why a "Google Grants" program then?
To "donate" AdWords, often in repsonse to a court order to do so.
Google, in conjunction with Salesforce.com, is now touting its "free online advertising" for "selected nonprofits" in the PR pitch for its new, very much for profit, AdWords distribution deal with Salesforce:
Another common thread that brought salesforce.com and Google together in their global alliance is their commitment to corporate philanthropy. In July of 2000, salesforce.com launched the Salesforce.com Foundation, which operates under the company's innovative 1/1/1 Model -- a commitment to deliver 1% Time, 1% Equity and 1% Product to nonprofit organizations and, most recently, to be "one" with the earth.
Since its launch, the Salesforce.com Foundation has donated their product to more than 2,000 nonprofits. Similarly, Google has also given free online advertising to selected nonprofits through its Google Grants program, supporting more than 2,500 nonprofit organizations in 16 countries to date. The Salesforce.com Foundation and Google are now teaming up to donate the new Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords to each other's nonprofit grantees. These selected nonprofits will be able to gain access to the same integrated sales and marketing success (online software?) that is available to the private sector at no cost. Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords will also be made available to additional nonprofits within the next quarter.
Google defends the philanthtropic "ROI" of its no cost to Google "donation" of AdWords campaigns:
Room to Read, which educates children in Vietnam, Nepal, India and Cambodia, attracted a sponsor who clicked on its AdWords ad. He has donated funds to support the education of 25 girls for the next 10 years.
Salesforce has a philanthropic effort in place that combines the personal efforts of its employees with the Salesforce in-kind "donations" of its Web-based CRM service. Salesforce finds "meaningful activities for salesforce.com employees to use their six paid days off a year devoted to volunteerism, and promoting a culture of caring."
Google's $158 billion market cap is almost 30 times that of Salesforce. What's more, Google's supposedly do-good "mission" to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" is driven by "rocket scientists."
Should Google not change its corporate culture tune from one of free lunches at the Googleplex and personal birthday masages for Googlers to a real corporate do-good philosophy?
Perhaps following in the Salesforce mold of supporting employees to really do something meaningful, for others, would be a good start.