Why NeedsList Exists

What challenge is NeedsList solving?

In times of humanitarian crisis or natural disaster, it's hard to know what supplies, information, and human resources are needed on the ground, which makes it difficult to meet community needs. Nonprofits lack simple tools to communicate or track supply and volunteer needs from the ground up in real time, which leads to inefficiency and waste. The lack of an ability to track needs also puts nonprofits at risk with individual, foundation, and government funders. 

Meanwhile, the private sector has tremendous amounts of talent and resources to direct towards humanitarian response, but finds it challenging to know what's needed, where. NeedsList offers a real-time tool that nonprofits and the private sector can use to match needs and offers of help. 

Why should we be innovating humanitarian response?

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.

This gap cannot be filled by individual donors and governments alone. The private sector has a growing role to play in delivering just-in-time services and supplies to crisis-affected communities. Increasingly, their employees and stakeholders are demanding thoughtful, impactful, and transparent responses to communities in crisis.

What makes the NeedsList solution unique?

We’re the only online platform that sources vetted needs on the ground for displaced communities, offering quick and easy ways for enterprises to contribute urgently needed supplies, volunteer time, and emergency funds. We work with local nonprofits who are the most effective and direct responders, embedded in and committed to their communities, and using an approach to aid which is rooted in dignity.

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. Nonprofits need operating funds but when you partner with NeedsList you have choice and tangible ways to support communities in crisis. 

What is your vetting process for partner charities?

NeedsList works closely with a network of umbrella nonprofits and foundations that serve as vetting partners for organizations on the ground. 

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 and volunteer data, which automatically provides you with accountability for yourself and your donors.

Charities/NGOs receive their own 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?

When NeedsList purchases supplies for our enterprise customers, our vendors ship directly to our local partners, who document receipt of goods and document delivery to displaced communities.


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 not competing with any of our nonprofit members for funding or donations of any kind. 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.

What's your business model?

NeedsList charges our corporate partners for curated opportunities to deploy their human and financial resources and services in the field. We have a small markup on supplies sold through the platform. To learn more, please contact us or read our terms of use.