Data-Driven Connections for a Better World – Stanford Social Innovation Review

Written by Adrienne Day

For nonprofits to succeed in a transformed world, they need to use technology and data to create and sustain relationships with the people who believe in them.

In terms of establishing brand identity, few nonprofits can claim the success of UNICEF and its once-ubiquitous little orange donation boxes. If you went trick-or-treating as a child, chances are, along with Snickers and M&Ms, you also collected pocket change for the social-welfare organization, which was founded in 1946 and now works in 192 countries.

Yet for many people, awareness of the nonprofit ends with that orange box, says Shelley Diamond, chief marketing officer at UNICEF USA, one of many national organizations around the world that financially support the global parent entity.

That failure to grasp the scope of UNICEF’s efforts persists despite the fact it “does more than any other children’s humanitarian organization around the world in saving the lives of kids,” she says. And things aren’t getting any easier for global nonprofits. A larger shift underway is impacting many international humanitarian groups. The political landscape in the United States and elsewhere has changed dramatically, economic inequality has reached remarkably high levels, and global crises—from the degradation of the environment to the COVID-19 epidemic—are posing huge challenges. Organizations of all types find themselves struggling more than ever with their own financial and operational health, compelling them to worry more often about protecting themselves rather than supporting others.

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By Alessandra Leone
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