Why NeedsList Exists

What is the Challenge NeedsList is Solving?

We have an aid system in need of aid. Unfortunately, up to ⅔ of your in-kind donations are wasted - they are either not what is actually needed, or they do not arrive on time. In emergency response situations, an average of 70% monetary donations to large organizations doesn’t go to actual needs on the ground, but to logistics and overhead costs.

Why is Innovation in Humanitarian Aid Urgent?

By end 2017, there were an estimated 68.5 million people in the world displaced by conflict (e.g., refugees) and climate change (e.g., hurricanes & fires) and an $11 billion resource gap in meeting urgent needs for these communities.

The number of displaced people is expected to quadruple by 2050. By 2030, the total monetary value of demand to meet urgent needs for these communities is expected to reach $50 billion.  

What Makes the NeedsList Solution Unique?

We’re the only online platform that sources actual needs on the ground for displaced communities, offering quick and easy ways for individuals and enterprises to contribute urgently needed supplies, volunteer time, and emergency funds. 

How was NeedsList Founded?

Read our origin story here! P.S. Our founder Natasha Freidus hacked a wedding registry to get us started. We think that’s pretty awesome.


About Partnerships

Why should I donate through NeedsList instead of giving cash to a larger international NGO?

We don't see this as an either - or. NGOs need operating funds but when you buy items through NeedsList you have choice and tangible ways to support communities inc risis. 

What is your vetting process for partner charities?

NeedsList works closely with a network of umbrella NGOs that serve as vetting partners. Registered users can filter by groups verified by specific partners. Other organizations are vetted by external funders or partners as indicated.

Why should a charity/NGO become a local partner with NeedsList?

Unlike other donation platforms, any charity with a NeedsList on our platform is able to access the donor information for each need met, automatically providing you contact information for future outreach efforts for anyone who has donated to one of their needs.

Charities/NGOs receive their own co-branded NeedsList they can share with their supporters base and use in outreach, effectively getting the use of our technology platform and services for free, along with a free marketing tool for you to use. 

Why should a company partner with NeedsList?

By partnering with NeedsList, companies can confidently provide options to employees and customers to provide real global impact, while simultaneously supporting an innovative, women-led tech startup. This is especially important for a growing employee and customer base whose consumption habits align with socially-responsible value systems around disruptions in climate change and refugee response. Millennials alone represent an estimated 75% of the workforce and increased customer base by 2025 and are entering the marketplace looking to make direct, innovative social impact at a global scale.

Many companies want to lead sound, effective, social impact initiatives, but don’t have the resources to hire consultants or in-house staff to source your social investments. By working with NeedsList, companies have access to our partnerships with over 150 local NGOs in 12 countries, as well as industry relationships cultivated by our amazing team over a cumulative 100 years’ professional engagement in impact investing, international development, entrepreneurship growth, technology, and marketing.

Learn more about company partnerships here.


About the Process

How do you know what needs to meet?

Our model works because we identify and partner with hyper-local, first-responding organizations who are embedded in the communities within which we are active. They have local relationships, knowledge of supply and distribution channels, and cultural knowledge. They post the needs.

What is your supply chain / logistics process like?

Our vendors ship directly to our local partners, who document receipt of goods and document delivery to displaced communities.

How quickly are needs met?

Because charities on NeedsList all have differing donor bases and reach, this answer varies widely depending on the organization, the need, and the context. 

How much money from my purchase online goes to actually meeting needs on the ground?

100 percent of your purchase outside of transaction fees covers the cost of supplies. 


About Our Company

Is NeedsList a for-profit or a non-profit?

NeedsList is a for-profit  Public Benefit Corporation. This designation means that we must consider our social mission in tandem with our efforts to make our company financially profitable. As a for-profit, we are able to be flexible, nimble and can scale rapidly. We believe that profit is more than financial. We join a growing movement of innovators who believe that collective prosperity will triumph over individual profit. Read more about our values here.

What is the ‘Smart Aid’ approach that NeedsList employs?

‘Smart Aid’ is an innovative approach to developing humanitarian solutions, rooted in local needs, efficiency and dignity. Organizations and groups working within this model display the following characteristics:  

EFFECTIVE: Responding to a specific challenge identified by local responders, in an efficient, organized way

LOCAL: Building in-country capacity and directing funds to local businesses and organizations, thereby supporting the local economy

DIGNIFIED: Providing dignity and empowerment to communities in crisis through quality solutions and services that take their needs, culture and preferences into consideration.

COLLABORATIVE: Collaborating with other teams in the area and further afield to create chains of support and avoid duplication of efforts. These groups also have high degrees of collaboration within their own teams to respond to urgent needs as they arise.

TRANSPARENT: Accountability and transparency of funds and donations encourages ongoing participation from small and large donors alike.

TECH-SAVVY: Leveraging technology as a tool to make a greater impact. This can be low-tech, open source, social media, software or hardware.

SCALABLE: Providing open source solutions and creating systems that can be replicated elsewhere.

To learn more, please check out this article from our partners, Campfire Innovation.

How are you Funded?

We have a small markup on supplies sold through the platform, and we also have an enterprise version of NeedsList for corporations and funders looking for alternative ways to support displaced people.  We are committed to keeping NeedsList free for our charity and local NGO partners, but will begin to charge larger NGOs for premium features in 2019. To learn more, please contact us or read our terms of use.