Each year, only five percent of the $240 billion that individuals in the U.S. give each year is donated internationally, with the rest going to domestic non-profits. And one of the biggest reasons why is because people are skeptical about donating money overseas, where they can’t easily see how their funds are being used.
At New Incentives, a U.S. nonprofit operating in Nigeria, we are turning the international relief process on its head — and AppSheet is playing a huge role in helping us do it. We offer a health-based reward system for families that allows them to receive flexible cash in exchange for achieving a health-related goal such as getting a vaccination. We communicate with private donors, and then use tracking and data collection to ensure that their money winds up directly in the hands of people who need it the most. With this system, we are building an environment where donors can ensure that the majority of each dollar actually goes to people in need.
What we are doing has a direct impact on peoples’ lives, and so we knew right from the start that we needed to ensure our company is highly-transparent, and driven by quality data. Every week, we collect about 1 million data points from various sources, and we use it to constantly try and determine how to make our mission better.
As you can see, this is a tremendous amount of information to manage. At first, we used a range of different apps to manage data. For instance, we used Expensify for expense reporting but found it did not match our needs and use cases. We needed a powerful and cost-effective app that we could easily update and customize based on our specific needs. So, we turned to AppSheet’s app maker platform.
Since switching to AppSheet, operations have dramatically improved. In just one week, we designed a powerful app and have since expanded to a total of 16. Many processes across our organization now run on AppSheet. It has helped us with everything from tracking daily expenses to using photos of financial recipients without compromising their privacy. AppSheet allows our employees to refer to photos inside of our app when following up on program defaulters in remote areas even without connectivity.
AppSheet also helps us eliminate fraud and abuse, too, which is important since our employees receive pre-funding for expenses due to cash flow constraints where we work. We give employees petty cash, and use the app to make sure that it goes only towards approved expenditures. AppSheet gives us the tool that we need to ensure accountability. We can easily detect fraud and abuse when it happens.
Since working with AppSheet in August, 2016, the results have been amazing. AppSheet has helped us deliver our program to a total of 32,954 low-income mothers and their infants. This estimate does not include the infants so that it is an exact number of caretakers we have directly provided the cash incentives to.
The AppSheet team is also incredibly easy work with and highly supportive. They have been working with us every step of the way to design powerful apps. So they don’t just give you a platform and expect you to make something on your own. If you need assistance, there will be no shortage of it.
Svetha is the Founder & CEO of New Incentives, an organization she started in 2011 after doing research at the Center for Effective Global Action with faculty who conducted evaluations of leading conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs). She built New Incentives to introduce the nonprofit sector to CCTs because they are among the most well studied evidence-based development tools in the world. Having a background in impact evaluation and field research, Svetha understands how to bring policymakers, development researchers, and NGO partners together to create what New Incentives calls next-generation CCT programming. Svetha was a 2011 Changemaker, highlighted by the Clinton Global Initiative in 2012, was named a Forbes ’30 Under 30′ Social Entrepreneur in 2012, and was winner of the Women Deliver Social Enterprise Challenge in 2013.