We see it over and over again.
- Crisis strikes.
- Companies react.
- Large NGOs receive millions in donations.
There’s no question but that businesses and the employees who work there are generous, but sadly, the reality is that it’s hard to know how much of these donations actually goes to those in need.
One employee engagement specialist told us,
“Last time our company gave to “NGO X” our employees were stopping me in the hall, shaking their head, asking why we couldn’t find local organizations to support. They’re tired of traditional corporate philanthropy. They want to give more directly, they want to know where their money is going”
It’s no wonder that giving large sums to international NGOs is the default for corporate giving in times of crisis — the reality is that historically there has been no easy way to identify needs on the ground or local partners. This is the problem we are working to solve at NeedsList. We’re providing the private sector with tangible ways to support communities affected by conflict and natural disaster. Here’s what that looks like in practice.
“Nobody wants to pay for mold-killer, it’s just not sexy.”
Last September, Hurricane Florence ravaged North Carolina, causing severe damage and flooding throughout the state. Property damage and economic losses in North and South Carolina were estimated at over $24 billion. Six months later, communities are still struggling. WeWork employees and members in Durham were understandably concerned — many of them were personally affected, with relatives even losing homes. The WeWork team sprung into action, partnering with NeedsList to purchase over $25,000 in essential supplies for local non-profit organizations affected by both Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Employees also chipped through pooled giving at pop-up “needs kiosks” where members, employees, and the general public could donate and match contributions at participating WeWork locations.
Funds went to purchase items such as mold removal and mosquito dunks for Catholic Charities in Raleigh, as well as diapers and baby formula distributed by local responders, Hope Heroes. Items were purchased in bulk, at discount pricing, from regional suppliers whenever possible, and delivered within days.
“The WeWork Southeast team proudly partnered with NeedsList in an effort to help our local communities that were hit the hardest by Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Many individuals in our extended WeWork family, including employees and members, were personally affected by the aftermath of this disastrous storms. WeWork committed to stand by our Southeastern family to inspire positive change across these affected communities through much-needed donations, and our NeedsList site can help streamline this process.”
-Bobby Condon, WeWork General Manager for the Southeast
When end of the year giving provides protection from winter cold.
The philosophy at TripAdvisor around giving and employee engagement reflects their values as a company.
Choice. Transparency. Global. Tech-enabled.
As NeedsList’s first enterprise partner, TripAdvisor employees committed over 300 hours of volunteer time in 2018 to support local refugee aid organizations around the world. Engineers in Ottawa held a mini-hackathon for an open source warehouse management system in Greece. Employees in Oxford prepared over 1000 microSD cards with asylum rights information. Individual TripAdvisor volunteers assisted with translation, web development, graphic design, and many more for local organizations from the Turkish-Syrian border to Brussels to their own backyard in Boston.
But TripAdvisor didn’t stop with giving time. The NeedsList urgent needs fund “was a featured “cause” during their Giving Tuesday 2:1 employee match campaign, and they continued to fundraise for the fund throughout the remainder of the year with their year-round 1:1 employee match. Almost $7,500 went directly to some of the most marginalized communities affected by Hurricane Florence and refugees at the Moria camp in Lesvos, acknowledged to be one of the worst conditions for refugees across the globe. Items purchased through TripAdvisor generosity included:
- Hundreds of blankets, mattresses, and towels for refugee families at the Moria Camp in Lesvos, distributed by A Drop in the Ocean.
- Shampoo and diapers for Catholic Charities in Raleigh.
- Over a thousand dollars of gift-cards to be distributed to migrant workers still reeling from the hurricane by Episcopal FarmWorker Ministry whose director Laritza Garcón writes,
“With this platform there are no questions about exactly what it is we need or how many people are going to benefit. It’s clear for everyone and it’s encouraging for the donors.”
Tracking impact on both sides.
Over the past month we’ve taken a deep dive back into user research and we heard over and over again how essential tools to track impact are from both sides of the corporate<> community non-profit sides of the equation. Just as companies want to know where and how their time and resources are going, non-profits need tools to track volunteer hours and account for in-kind supplies for compliance, accountability and impact metrics.
We’re deep into designing NeedsList 2.0 which will implement improved tools and functionality for both sides of the equation — helping us not only to streamline the crisis relief process — but making it easier for non-profits and corporates to quantify the impact of “needs met”.
Interested in learning more? Give a shout, we’re happy to chat!