The Charitable Face of Data Use

Tanzeel Akhtar | Marketing Week | November 10, 2011

When a massive earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, the United Nations found that data collected through mobile telephones was crucial to delivering its relief programmes in the region. The UN Foundation’s vice president of communications Aaron Sherinian explains that - as demonstrated in Haiti - processing complex data sets is now vital for non-profit organisations to help everything from crisis management to their marketing and fundraising.

“Real-time data and mapping are crucial when helping to save lives,” says Sherinian. The UN has been working for 10 years with the Vodafone Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the mobile operator, which invests in the use of mobile technologies to advance health and disaster relief programmes around the world. “After the earthquake in Haiti, I think that real-time information not only raised awareness but boosted the comfort level of people who were giving and partnering all across the spectrum - from the grassroots donors to the high-level donors - about where our resources were going and that we were putting those resources in the places where they were needed,” he says...