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In Times of Crisis, You See Nonprofits Helping, Solving, Rebuilding

By Norah Stevens-Kittner November 2, 2022

The Ukrainian crisis, climate change, health, and cybersecurity were just some of the topics discussed at this year’s NetHope global summit.

This annual event brings together representatives from nonprofits and technology companies around the world to address the biggest problems facing humanity and the planet. Because when you look around at today’s crises — whether that’s the recent floods in Pakistan or providing meals to children during the pandemic — you see nonprofits helping, solving, and rebuilding.

Here are some of the highlights:

Five Weeks to “A Miracle”: The Ukrainian Red Cross’s Story

Since February 2022, the Ukrainian Red Cross has delivered more than 20,000 tons of humanitarian aid across the country and provided support to more than 6 million people. I had the opportunity to sit down with Yaroslav Ivakhno, Coordinator of Resource Mobilization, who shared that when donations suddenly began pouring in from around the world, the organization was not equipped to accept donations in foreign currency. Their website was in Ukrainian only, but suddenly, 95% of all their donations were coming from outside Ukraine. They needed to quickly and effectively find a solution to manage the inflow of support from abroad.

“Our first task was to create an efficient solution that would allow us to accept all donations in any currency, and which could support many different languages,” Yaroslav said. They engaged with VRP Consulting, a Salesforce partner, to build that solution, and their experience could not have been more positive: “In five weeks, they made a miracle. Our system was done from scratch, and we are able at last to accept all kinds of donations.”

Yaroslav added that moving to Salesforce has also given the Ukrainian Red Cross access to valuable donor data, which allows them to thank donors through monthly email updates that share the difference their donations are making to Ukrainians. He said each of these thank-you emails also yields an average of $170,000 in additional donations.

VRP Consulting also set the Ukrainian Red Cross up with Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, which has helped them automate their processes: “Before implementing this system, we had a very small team, and the first month I had to work at least 18 hours per day, without any days off — and we still were not able to meet the requests from all our donors. After we implemented all the automation and donor journeys, we were able, at last, to have our first day off after months of hard work,” Yaroslav told me.

We’re so grateful to Yaroslav for taking the time to share his story with us at NetHope, and I was honored to be a part of it. Rewatch this session on Salesforce+.

Data to Rapidly Respond to a Humanitarian Crisis

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the largest humanitarian organization in the world with a mission to end hunger. When COVID-19 hit, supply chains and borders were disrupted, cutting off millions from life-saving health and humanitarian assistance. In response, WFP provided humanitarian organizations access to its logistical expertise and transportation networks, delivering emergency supplies free of charge from anywhere in the world.

To manage requests, WFP developed a Service Delivery Control Tower powered in part by Tableau Software where they could view, analyze and visualize real-time data from a variety of sources, helping inform decision-making and coordinate rapid response. Diana Klein, Head of Data and Analytics at WFP, shared that WFP “could quickly identify the best ways to receive items, transport them, and safely and securely deliver them while mitigating supply chain and border disruptions.”

WFP visualized their data with Tableau Software, helping them gain a real-time view of partners’ requests, how much was being transported, and when, along with how much had arrived. This helped ensure the correct items were delivered to the right place at the right time, and enabled WFP to give partners up-to-date information on the status of their cargo shipments. To date, WFP has delivered 148,000 cubic meters of health and humanitarian cargo to 173 countries on behalf of 73 humanitarian organizations during the pandemic.

Technology Is an Enabler To Make Moments of Impact Possible

Salesforce recognizes that technology doesn’t rescue individuals from peril or distribute food to the hungry — humans do those things. But technology is a critical enabler to make more of those moments of impact possible.

Lori Freeman, General Manager of Salesforce for Nonprofits shared with the NetHope community the newest Salesforce innovation all centered around data: 

  • Unifying and protecting data: Salesforce’s partnership with AWS focuses on building open-source integrations to automate deployment and hydration of data lakes. It has pre-built integration flows to hydrate that lake with data from Salesforce for Nonprofits, and it includes guidance to create a throughput to Tableau.  
  • Relationship building: Changing real-time expectations of nonprofit stakeholders, whether a partner in the field or a donor giving to a cause is the problem that Salesforce is solving. Genie is Salesforce’s new real-time data platform which can combine stakeholder and engagement data from any cloud or application into unified profiles, which can then be automated. Organizations are able to react across all touchpoints to deliver engagement, collaboration, and data intelligence in real-time.
  • Collaboration: Data and information aren’t helpful if you can’t come together and act on it. With Slack, nonprofits come together as a digital headquarters, and information is created, organized, and shared across teams. Slack allows you to automate workflow for common processes in your organization. Integrating dashboards or data from more than 2400 third-party apps out of the box into Slack allows organizations to create a real-time interactive view of the data employees need.

Making Grant Writing Easier for Climate Organizations

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and solving it will need unprecedented collaboration and funding. But winning critical funds is a complex and time-consuming process.

Salesforce joined the Chief Technology of Greenpeace International, Priscilla Chomba-Kinywa to demonstrate the newly released Grants Content Kit created by a group of cross-sector experts in the latest Impact Labs. 

The Grants Content Kit was specifically designed to support climate-based organizations that simply don’t have adequate resources or staff to navigate incredibly complex grant-writing processes. If their grant applications are not successful, these organizations cannot obtain the critical funding they need to pursue their climate action efforts. Priscilla demonstrated to session participants how this community-led, open-source innovation could help grant writers create more effective applications and empower organizations to win more funding for urgently needed climate initiatives.

Making the World Better, Together

The NetHope community and the broader humanitarian sector are proof that effective innovation requires cross-sectoral collaboration. When organizations from across sectors, locations, and backgrounds come together, we can find solutions to big problems that none of us could solve alone. believes strongly in a shared commitment to use our resources to address urgent global needs together. It’s the only way to ensure a bright future for our planet — and for humanity.

Explore nonprofit trends in the latest edition of our 5th Nonprofit Trends Report, based on insights from over 1,600 nonprofit professionals globally. Check out the top findings — covering how nonprofits met or exceeded their top goals, how digitally mature nonprofits’ work cultures outperform their peers, and more.