May 13, 2015; Mashable
NPQ has previously written about the tech-savvy responses the corporate sector has had to aid Nepal after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake and the subsequent aftershock of equal strength resulted in over 8,000 deaths and hundreds more injured. Now, the nonprofit sector is utilizing the power of the Internet, which has become the go-to mobilizing agent for catastrophes.
Humanitarian aid organization Oxfam America is partnering with location technology company xAd to create mobile-targeted advertisements aimed at the 50,000 participants that will be attending Internet Week New York from May 18th through the 24th. Upon clicking the ad, the user will be directed toward more information about Oxfam and how an individual can donate directly to the organizations stationed in the disaster zone providing services. The platform will allow Oxfam to track donor behavior, and hopefully see contributors donate more than once.
The campaign is focusing on this event in particular in an attempt to dispel the notion that the problem is too large for one individual’s help, a common dilemma that prevents donors from giving. The communal nature of the Internet combats the ineffectualness one can feel in the face of the enormous task ahead of relief organizations, essentially helping rebuild the foundations of a society. Online giving itself has become a staple feature of charity, and finding new ways to utilize the “medium” is instrumental for effective fundraising.
While the initiative between the groups was actually planned prior to the April 25th earthquake, the partnership has even more resonance now given the significant need for aid in the region.
“The number of people affected—8 million—will likely increase as a result of [Tuesday’s earthquake],” said director of humanitarian response for Oxfam America Mike Delaney to Mashable. “The timing of this partnership could not be better. Letting people know about the situation in Nepal, especially after this double disaster, is going to be really important.”
Oxfam is planning to help more than 400,000 people by providing clean water and shelter. So far, it has helped more than 50,000, which is still only a fraction of those who are in need. Luckily, Oxfam understands the magnitude of the problem and how much more needs to be done, especially in the years ahead.
“We’re seeing plenty of demand. We know from past emergencies that a crisis like this—equivalent to Haiti or even Katrina in the U.S.—these things take four, five years to help rebuild,” said Delaney.
Indeed, reports coming out of the area tell a grim tale of devastation in the already impoverished country. Schools have been decimated, while hospitals are working in overdrive to keep up with the injuries. Undoubtedly, a significant amount of work will be required to not only bring in donations, but to also organize them in the most efficient way. Will Oxfam’s campaign to enlist New York’s Internet dwellers work?—Shafaq Hasan