Why Splunk Is Pledging $100 Million to Nonprofits
Cloud software giant Salesforce is well-known for baking corporate philanthropy into its financial model and workplace culture at its founding way back in 1999—pledging 1% of its equity, 1% of its employees’ work hours, and 1% of its products to charitable causes. That strategy that has inspired many tech companies born since that time to make similar gestures.
One firm picking up that mantle in a bigger way is data analytics firm Splunk (SPLK), which Tuesday pledged to donate more than $100 million in software—and the support to get it up and running properly—over the next decade to nonprofit organizations and schools as part of its Splunk4Good initiative.
For perspective, Splunk gave away roughly $10 million in technology through the program to about 50 nonprofits over the past four years (its standard package runs about $15,000 per organization), so this is a substantial increase.
“It is non-trivial to understand data itself and get it into a format where you can ask questions of it,” Splunk president and CEO Doug Merritt told Fortune. “We are deeply passionate about that power that big data, used the right way, can contribute toward doing good.”
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Splunk’s software is used primarily to collect operational data about software applications, cloud services, data center servers, and other IT equipment so that organizations can detect anomalies and assess performance trends.
One example of a nonprofit benefiting from its technology is Crossroads Foundation, which uses Splunk’s software to manage the security of the online systems that the nonprofit uses to collect donations. Splunk is also one of several software companies behind ImpactCloud, a set of applications available to humanitarian organizations that need communications applications for coordinating field operations in disaster response situations. (The other participants include Box, DocuSign, Okta, Salesforce.org, and Twilio.)
Aside from its philanthropic push, Splunk is expanding its program to train university and post-secondary students how to use its software for free—so far that program is available to around 339 institutions through the Internet2 technology education network.
A major motivator for Splunk is to help nonprofit organizations dedicate a larger part of their budgets to action, and not technology purchases, Merritt said. An ulterior motive, however, is a desire to raise Splunk’s visibility both with potential customers and future employees. “It’s always the right thing to do the right thing,” he said.
Splunk, which was founded in 2003, has about 12,000 customers including Zillow (Z) and Coca-Cola (KO). It is nearing $1 billion in annual revenue; updated financial projections from late August call for the software company to generate between $910 million to $914 million in revenue for the year ending Jan. 31, 2017. That’s higher than its previous forecast.