Building connections and creating hope with Cloud Content Management
With a lean core team, NetHope accomplishes some mighty things. The consortium connects NGOs, funders, and world-class technology companies to solve global development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges. Prior to Cloud Content Management, less sophisticated processes made for weaker mission outcomes. Managing fundraising, coalition programming, initiatives, and content across the entire network was nearly impossible.
With Cloud Content Management, NetHope’s regional chapters and working groups can share content on a centralized portal to progress their missions. That way, knowledge flows easily and securely across NetHope’s extended network. Since 2015, Box partnership has enabled NetHope to scale several programming areas, including a more recent social impact vision: the Center for the Digital Nonprofit.
Collaboration between all the stakeholders NetHope brings together is much more effective with Cloud Content Management as a foundation, and that leads to real problem-solving for NGOs. NetHope’s various chapters and teams all rely on the centralized NetHope Solutions Center, powered partly by Box, to access secure member-only and public content. Key NGOs can now digitize and accelerate their missions over the long term with smarter use of technology.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where natural disasters, environmental disruption, and forced migration regularly cause massive chaos for many groups of people. For communities in crisis, and the NGOs that serve them, connectivity is often a pressing problem. Consider the victims of a devastating tropical hurricane, or the refugees bunkered down in a remote camp thousands of miles from their homeland. The ability to connect with family, friends, and the wider world is not a luxury. It’s essential to their survival.
NetHope’s stakeholders step into these places of crisis to help connect and coordinate local governments, aid-focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and world-class technology companies. The global consortium sits at the intersection of 57 NGOs doing hard work in hard-to-reach places — including the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, PATH, Team Rubicon Global, NRC, World Vision, Mercy Ships, Child Fund, and Save the Children — and the world’s biggest, most powerful technology companies. At this point, NetHope’s partner NGOs deliver over 60% of all annual non-governmental aid globally. They facilitate this effort by quickly driving effective solutions for places in crisis, from the 2015 earthquake in Nepal to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and recent Dorian-struck areas in the Bahamas.
NetHope’s mission is huge: to empower committed organizations to change the world through the power of technology. But for all the impact it has, NetHope is a very small organization of about 20 people, none of whom are dedicated IT specialists. This virtual operation is an amazing example of how small teams can be mighty when they partner with the right technology. For NetHope, that technology includes a deep, long-standing partnership with Box for Cloud Content Management.
One central place for content, for every stakeholder
NetHope provides much more than on-the-ground disaster relief. Its U.S.-based community includes six regional chapters that convene regularly. And 57 NGO-driven working groups also meet on specific topics such as connectivity, data protection, and enterprise architecture. Once a year, 500-600 staff from their member orgs come together at the Global NetHope Summit to address how technology can be better used to make progress against pressing global challenges.
There’s a lot of communication and collaboration involved in running a consortium that connects so many dispersed and different organizations across incidents, events, and initiatives. Prior to adopting Cloud Content Management, communication and collaboration were much more challenging. Weaker collaboration made for weaker digital outcomes for NetHope’s stakeholders.
Since adopting Box in 2014, NetHope now uses Cloud Content Management to aggregate all its organization-wide content, information, and planning resources so that it’s easier for individual teams to tap into knowledge. A central online hub called the NetHope Solutions Center, built on Box, contains secure member-only resource pages for all the consortium’s working groups and regional chapters, enabling them to collaborate on documents remotely with comprehensive version control. The Solutions Center is also a hub for public-facing content, with easy editing and approval processes built in before any content goes live.
Bryan Breckenridge, Executive Director of Box.org, describes a critical shift in the way nonprofits and NGOs like NetHope are using technology today: “You see nonprofits start with technology at the core of their program delivery models — not just enabling technology that surrounds the processes, but actually starting with a technology-enabled solution.”
“Starting with a technology-enabled solution fuels reach, data collection, and positive outcomes from the start. For decades, NetHope has been fueling this progress.”
Bryan Breckenridge, Executive Director, Box.org
Staying on top of quickly changing data
Collaborators at NetHope also use Cloud Content Management to efficiently manage the narrative that external responders, funders, and technology partners use to best direct support where it’s needed. Crisis informatics and data visualization are essential to these global efforts. Mapping the right people to the right points of need and keeping everyone communicating in a secure, up-to-date way requires strategic and streamlined information flow.
By using Box as a content platform, NetHope stakeholders around the world can better tune in to real-time crisis informatics content. As new groups get involved in crisis response over time, Cloud Content Management gives every team immediate access to the most current data in a format that’s easily readable. Because Box enables external collaboration without the barrier of firewalls and other traditional technology obstacles, stakeholders from anywhere and everywhere collaborate quickly in the cloud.
"Moving content to the right NetHope and external constituents in multiple streams — without breaking down security — is key to the success of this work."
John Crowley, Director of Information Management and Crisis Informatics, NetHope
Moving NGOs further along in their digital journeys
One of NetHope’s most visionary achievements to date has been the founding of the Center for the Digital Nonprofit, a recent effort that’s focused on helping nonprofits and NGOs accelerate their missions over the long term with smarter use of technology. The Center’s focus is on providing digital assessment, digital skills-gap closing, and consulting engagements that give NGOs a more digital way of operating. By bringing together the expertise of the technology sector with the on-the-ground experience of nonprofits, the goal is to create a foundation for forward-looking organizations to relieve suffering.
Box enables the Center for Digital Nonprofit Research to simplify the execution of a vast array of efforts. Communication leaders then use Box to drive storytelling collaboration and productivity to better educate members and funders about the Center’s critical work. Cloud Content Management is an essential piece of the technology equation for NetHope and the NGOs it works with. And all of this is accomplished on Box, without the need for advanced internal IT control.
“Instead of an organization making grants one by one to organizations to help them with their technology, we can make one grant to an organization that has the leverage and the reach and the network to serve, in NetHope’s case, 57.”
Erin Baudo Felter, Executive Director, Okta for Good (a NetHope partner)
Enriching hope around the world
They say that every company today is a technology company, and you can’t leave NGOs out of that equation. NetHope and Box both believe that technology has the power to drive change in every area of humanitarian and conservation work. Technology bridges the gap and empowers previously underserved NGOs and their beneficiaries. It also helps fuel economic, social, and environmental improvement, and magnifies change in every other area NGOs tackle.
Getting all of NetHope’s important working groups together to focus on conservation and aid is essential to the work NetHope does. Box feels honored that Cloud Content Management is a part, even if small, of powering the collaboration and knowledge management efforts of NetHope’s NGO members and broader ecosystem.
The gifts and support of forward-looking philanthropists, companies, and individuals are what keep organizations like NetHope scaling. If you want to make a difference and are compelled by this story, they welcome your partnership inquiry at the NetHope Development Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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