Disaster tech support for NGOs

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Scenario Assumptions:

  • Community-wide disaster (Earthquake, subsequent tsunami)- but not total devastation
  • 5-10% of nonprofit org buildings collapse.
  • Assume government resources are focused on gov't facilities
  • Assume for-profit IT services are serving for profit businesses
  • Computer/technology/platform are down at 300-600 non profit orgs

How can nonprofit sector (people) self-organize in an ad hoc way?

  • Looking at day AFTER crisis through several weeks of recovery
  • Not focused on preparation, focused on recovery.
  • Mobilizing those inclined and qualified to help.

Needs for Success

  • Means for gathering/listing orgs that need assistance (text based?/low bandwidth)
  • Means for finding/alerting/vetting(?) volunteer corps to assist nonprofits that are down
  • Triage process that works for volunteer lay-people, non-technical to
  evaluate urgency cases.

Event Workflow:

  • OUTBOUND: who needs help
  • OUTBOUND: who can help
  • incoming requests for aid (provide location and best guess of need)
  • incoming offers to help (provide location and skills to offer)
  • go through triage matching process (below)

Triage Questions: Prioritization of Need

(Automate triage questions if possible, Twillio, etc, have option to talk to people)

  • Where are is the down technology/computer network?
  • Will lives be threatened if technology is not restored?
  • Power out? Internet out?
  • Damaged equipment? Type, how many, etc.
  • Building damaged/flooded/no access? Do you need to relocate?
  • Do you have other resources that can help you?
  • Are you the person normally in charge of this?
    o Is there an IT person?
    o Are they okay, can help?
    o Can you get in touch with them to assess your needs?

!!! IDEAS !!!

  • Build on existing ...
  • Coopt / adapt an existing platform that is up (assume electricity up, in general)
  - Use a facebook page - rework 'I’m Safe feature'
  - Make a google map with pins showing need
  - Post needs on CraigsList in special category
  - Other?: How would/could twitter, snap, instragram fit in. 
  • Tech industry could set up platform something in advance (e.g., Zendesk, Salesforce)
  • Tech industry could set up employee 'community service' program in advance to allow employees to go out in their neighborhoods and help closest school, church, clinic


* There are issues of liability, HIPAA data, etc.
* NEED A ticket systems for assigning people are needed in order to avoid
  duplication of efforts, appropriately escalate, indicate resolution.