These days, the nonprofit industry can be equally as competitive when it comes to innovation. With the aim to make a difference in the community, here are 5 non profit organisations who are making an impact with their innovative practices.
1. charity: water
charity: water is dedicated to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. In 2011, they launched a programme called Dollars to Projects where they match each donation made to an appropriate project. Their innovative mindset kicked in when they redesigned how they report their social impact to their donors. A project report will be sent to them, keeping their donors updated on where their money is going in that project. The report includes pictures, results, and even GPS coordinates on where the impact is being made. This approach to communicating ROI builds trust and relationships among the organisation and its donors.
Their innovation did not stop there. According to Fast Company, they developed an innovative funding model called the Pool in 2019. This model allows wealthy donors to donate a portion of their private holdings to support charity: water’s operations and give their employees bonuses. Such an innovative spin on receiving donations shifted mindsets whereby nonprofits should always keep their overhead costs minimum. However, companies are not paying their talents right, how can they guarantee that they can provide quality products and services to their consumers. This model ensures that nonprofit workers can be fairly paid as well, opening up more practical job opportunities for those who want to work for good.
2. Days for Girls
Days for Girls work towards increasing access to menstrual care and education through creating partnerships, promoting social entrepreneurship, involving volunteers, and innovating sustainable solutions. Many girls around the world have difficulty accessing menstrual products as most stores nearby do not sell them or they could not afford to buy one. Days for Girls understand the everyday struggles these girls face when they do not have these products on hand, hence they created DfG kits. This innovative solution started from a DfG POD (Portable Object of Dignity), which led to the birth of many other kits produced to ensure that girls are still able to lead quality lives even during their periods.
What is so special and unique about these kits is that they do not look like traditional pads! They are designed to be bright and colourful so that it camouflages staining. Furthermore, the liners unfold to look like a washcloth, allowing women to wash and dry them out in the sun with any discomfort. This ingenious product definitely deserved a spot at the top 10 Classy Award in 2017.
3. Because International (The Shoe That Grows Program)
Because International believes in using products as a medium to alleviate poverty. The founder happened to chance upon a little girl when walking down a dusty road. When he looked down, he realised that her shoes were too small on her. As children grow older, they tend to outgrow donated shoes really quickly, causing them to revert back to going barefoot. This makes them very vulnerable to soil-transmitted diseases and parasites, which makes them ill and can potentially lead to death. With the thought that what if there was a shoe that can expand, the idea of The Shoe That Grows was born.
With that innovative idea in mind, he and his team worked hard to produce a shoe made out of durable and long lasting materials. The shoes were able to expand up to 5 sizes and they could last up to 5 years. By creating a sustainable and effective product that answers the needs of the children, Because International won a spot at the top 10 Classy Award in 2017 as well.
4. Direct Relief
Direct Relief offers medical aid and other support to natural disasters, both in the U.S. and around 80 countries in the world. Medical aid and other support includes namely equipping medical teams with resources to care for the vulnerable people. They have designed a range of products which helps to address the needs of the people before and after a disaster strikes and one of the more significant products is a treatment kit that treats cholera patients.
With reference to the current coronavirus pandemic, Direct Relief is working beyond its capabilities to provide medical supplies to as many health workers as they can across the medical facilities in the US. It is also expanding its efforts to reach out to more communities through large scale provision of personal protective equipment and medical supplies. These medical supplies come from the stockpile which direct relief maintains in view of possible disaster, medical supplies includes N95 masks which are designed with adjustable sizing to better protect the user.
It also pioneered using large scale population movement data anonymized by Facebook to help track the movements of the population after a disaster, to allocate resources more efficiently and effectively. By effectively wielding this technology advancement, disaster relief organisations will be able to account for the movement of the population which may not always move to expected locations and anticipated speed. Leveraging on technology and an innovative mindset, Direct Relief is able to act fast and reach out to more people before and after a disaster strike.
Based in San Francisco, Kiva aims for a financially inclusive world by expanding financial access to people to alleviate poverty. They do so by allowing people to lend money to underserved communities. Funders can choose a borrower based on different categories like education, single parents, food, arts, and more. With a simple yet sustainable idea of becoming the middlemen for lenders and borrowers, the underprivileged communities are able to afford emergency health care services, pay for school fees, and start thriving on their own.
And the best part is that 100% of every dollar lent goes to funding a person that needs it. No hidden cost, no interest rates, just purely to help someone in need. By creating a partnership with mutual trust and dignity has allowed Kiva to see a 96.7% loan repayment rate. It goes to say, innovation does not necessarily mean to create a new product or model, sometimes it is just adding an additional step into the ecosystem for it to thrive and work.
Anyone can be creative and innovative! Change starts from you so don’t be afraid to experiment with new and fresh ideas to help the community. If you want to learn how to create innovative solutions that address a problem or need, check out our Design Thinking workshops!