Cloud Seen As 'Game Changer' in Global Fight Against AIDS

By Cloud Innovations FOXBusiness

Lead singer Bono of the rock band U2 performs during a concert at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California October 25, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES ENTERTAINMENT) (Reuters)

In the global fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS, one fundraising organization is harnessing the Cloud, using its power not just for profits but “for philanthropy and making the world a better place,” said (RED) CEO Deb Dugan.

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“The Cloud has made us smarter and more efficient,” Dugan said. “It’s been a game changer.”

By tapping analytics in the Cloud, Dugan said (RED) can effectively show its partners where it is having the most impact – in real time. The Cloud also helps (RED) create and share documents more efficiently.

(RED) launched in 2006, and is a division of The One Campaign. (RED) was co-founded by U2 frontman Bono and philanthropist Bobby Shriver to create a sustainable flow of private sector money to the Global Fund – which has been called the world's war chest to fight AIDS, as well as TB and Malaria. Up to 50 percent of the profits from sales of (RED) products go directly to the Global Fund. To date, (RED) has generated more than $360 million for the Global Fund, to finance programs fighting AIDS in Africa.

Late last year, the Cloud-based customer relationship management software company Salesforce offered (RED) both expertise and technology solutions via its philanthropic arm, Salesforce.org. Salesforce employees are given paid days off each year for volunteer work, and many donated more than 900 pro bono hours to (RED), setting up the Cloud programs that Salesforce provided free of charge and training the 20-person staff.

“The impact they can make to the community they serve using our technology is vital,” said Ebony Frelix, senior vice president, philanthropy & engagement at Salesforce.org. “We’ve given them tools to run their organization more efficiently, and it all happens seamlessly in the Cloud.”

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(RED) now operates in the Cloud on several levels, including analytics, sales and marketing. The Cloud enables staff to share with corporate partners -- in real-time -- the exact ways their support impacts people around the world.

Making it easy to share stories and information seamlessly has been critical. Dugan said they’ve come a long way from the days of approaching partners with printed paper spreadsheets.

“Salesforce has helped us leave our computers and desks behind,” she said. “Everybody’s mobile — we can have people from Rwanda to San Francisco at any given time, and they can pull up any information at the moment and mobile.”

(RED) also communicates with more than 6 million people and partners on social media, and uses the Cloud to engage with supporters there.

“We use the marketing cloud loudly and feverishly,” said Dugan. “We want to deepen our relationships and reach our engaged community and share information.”

“Cloud computing is not a trend,” said Frelix. “What we are doing with our technology is leveling the playing field. It’s a way people can quickly come up to speed and have meaningful work in today’s society. It’s pretty cool how we can affect change on so many different levels. … With nonprofits using Cloud, we will see big increases in their impacts.”

At (RED), they agree. Last year, they offered 86 “products for good.” This year, they have been able to expand to 200. All of which they hope can help them reach their goal to eliminate mother-child transmission of AIDS by 2020, and by 2030, eradicating AIDS completely.

“If you think of some of these Cloud initiatives being game changers in business, we like to apply those to philanthropy,” said Dugan, “and having the ROI be saving people’s lives.”

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