Giving online: Part 3

By Todd Cohen

Two days after the waves hit, Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Va., decided to launch a special workplace drive, and sent two email messages over one week to its 16,000 employees saying it would partially match their gifts.

The appeals generated over 1,100 employee contributions totaling more than $200,000, a total expected to grow by another $30,000 to $50,000, in addition to a $50,000 corporate match, says Joseph Suarez, director of community relations.

Don Sodo, president of America’s Charities, which has 30 clients that use its online system for workplace campaigns, including Booz Allen and six others that used it for tsunami fundraising, says online giving has undergone a “revolution” because technology lets charities reach donors quickly with appeals, and provide content about needs and real-time feedback about the impact of gifts.

Over the long term, he says, technology “creates the possibility of a relationship” that employers and charities can develop.

Seventeen clients of CreateHope in Bethesda, Md., raised $8.5 million through 31,000 pledges in two weeks for 12 charities

“Technology has enabled even smaller charities to have the ability to communicate with a donor easily,” says Adam Goozh, president and CEO.


NetHope, an alliance of 15 of the world’s largest relief organizations that serves as their international telecom department, in the second half of 2004 worked with Cisco Systems and British satellite firm Inmarsat to develop NetReliefKit, a “wireless office.”

The effort, including a mobile satellite link to the internet, is funded by both firms, with additional satellite funding from Microsoft.

For the tsunami relief effort, NetHope delivered kits to Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee, all for stationary offices in Sumatra. And another is going to Actionaid in India for installation in a van serving several locations.

Relief agencies are using the kits for tasks such as telemedicine, coordinating services, sending and receiving email, uploading disaster photos for use in fundraising, and conveying statistics on relief efforts and budgeting, says Dipak Basu, executive director of NetHope and a Cisco Leadership Fellow who was director of customer advocacy at Cisco.

Next: Virtual relief speeds cash, materials to stricken areas.

Other articles in series:

Part 1: Tsunamis unleash Web philanthropy
Part 2: Web contributions surge in wake of Asian Tsunami. 
Part 4: Virtual relief speeds cash, materials to stricken areas.

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