In August 2018 ORFL decided to support Needslist. Needslist is a humanitarian aid tech start up. It is a platform that connects donors to NGOs working on site, locally and directly with people in need.
On the Needslist platform NGOs who are serving people in crisis find out their most urgent need or needs, be it goods, services or donations. The NGO can post these needs to the Needslist platform and the donor can find it on the Needslist website or web app. On the platform the donor can search by need, a specific good or service or by grassroots NGO. Needslist creates transparency and accountability as the donor can see exactly where their time or money is going. Also, when Needslist works in a country they find local suppliers to manufacture the goods that are needed. Meaning they direct global resources to local business and the community.
Below is an example of how Needslist show their needs.
Needslist applies peer-to-peer technology to leverage online tools and social networks to connect those who want to help to those in need anywhere in the world. Needslist also vets the NGOs before they are allowed onto their platform to request anything. They also vet the suppliers to ensure they are trustworthy and create good products.
How did Needslist come about?
Natasha the founder of Needslist came up with the idea because a lot of her friends and family wanted to donate to grassroots groups. She realised there were people who wanted to donate but they didn’t know where or who to trust so they trusted her with their donations or to point them to a grassroot NGOs to donate to. Eventually when it became too many people to handle, her and Amanda launched Needslist. Now they can direct all these people to Needslist. They also wanted to solve another problem with Needslist, when kids in schools donate tinned food in the USA (since some people would rather donate physical goods) to refugees in Italy there is a lot of wasted time and money to transport this to Italy. Why not find a local Italian food company and instead buy tinned food at the location and skip the logistics and transportation cost. Natasha also realized people can volunteer their skills and time to help refugees or beneficiaries of aid. So they created a section where donors can donate their time and skills.
Finally Needslist was created to fill a need of where to find trust worthy NGOs, donate good directly, transparently and locally without the transport costs and how to donate time and skills.
Why support them?
Natural disaster and people displaced by conflict is a growing problem especially with global warming. People need help and this is a great trustworthy transparent as possible way to help a growing problem. It is like the Amazon or Craigslist of need but vetted. Finally, Needslist are looking to follow and uphold smart aid, which means developing humanitarian solutions that cater to local needs while preserving dignity. The cornerstones of smart aid are: effective, local, dignified, collaborative, transparent, tech-savvy (e.g use of social media) and scalable. A company that aims to help people while upholding smart aid fundamentals is a company worth supporting.
To find out more about them you can check out their website here.