How Funders & Donors Can Shift Power to Refugee-led Organizations

2 min readAug 20, 2020

In honor of World Humanitarian Day, a coalition of leading international humanitarian organizations and funders — including Amnesty International, Asylum Access, Oxfam International and Open Society Foundations — announced a fundraising campaign supporting refugee-led organizations.

The campaign is powered by NeedsList’s innovative ConnectLocal software solution that connects donors directly to community needs.

NeedsList is proud to be a part of this critical work. Around the world, refugee-led organizations are leading on the frontlines, taking critical action to prevent the catastrophic impacts of COVID-19 for refugees and host communities. Yet — like many community-led initiatives — the work remains woefully underfunded.

To address this resource gap, a global coalition of refugee-led organizations and supporters launched Refugees Lead, hosted by NeedsList, to draw attention to the role of refugees as essential responders. Individuals and institutions can directly support 11 grassroots refugee-led organizations providing life-saving services through the platform.

Damma organization in Lebanon supports the role of women in alleviating the impact of violence and building resilience and peace in Syrian conflict-affected communities.

The Refugees Lead campaign goes to the core of who NeedsList is as an organization — we are built around the belief that the fastest way to solve a problem is to get the closest to it. Leaders on the ground are in the best position to tell funders what they need; yet they often lack access to do so. Through campaigns like Refugees Lead, NeedsList connects funders and local leaders to solve problems together.

NeedsList is passionate about creating technology solutions to engage donors and amplify community-led initiatives and needs.

As recent events have underscored, inequalities are rife within our world. NeedsList powers faster, more sustainable activation efforts — ensuring that local organizations get what they need, when they need it most. ConnectLocal also enables funders and donors to align and report their work to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

If you’re looking for solutions to increase participation, engagement, and equity in philanthropy, we’d love to talk to you about how ConnectLocal helps funders shift power and agency to those who know what their communities need — the people leading on the ground. Give us a shout at




We’re designing new ways to meet the growing needs of displaced people worldwide. Get involved! #withrefugees #tech4good #socialinnovation #Humanitarians