Skip to Content

How the WHO Foundation is Improving Global Health with Salesforce

By Guest Author April 7, 2022

Established in 2020 as an independent entity, the WHO Foundation complements and strengthens the work of WHO and its global network of partners by mobilizing new funding from diverse sources—including philanthropists, corporate entities, and the public—to power WHO’s mission. By addressing the world’s most urgent health issues in a new, transformative, catalytic way, the WHO Foundation aims to provide everyone, everywhere, a healthier, more equitable future.

The foundation hit the ground running with two major funding campaigns in the midst of the pandemic: Go Give One (working alongside GAVI) to fund vaccines, and the WHO COVID-19 Response, formerly the Solidarity Response Fund, which focuses on the WHO’s global pandemic response. The WHO Foundation is fundraising for these campaigns, but is also responsible for distributing the funds.

Essential to these processes was the creation of a robust due diligence process which was crucial to safeguard the institute’s reputation. This is where NexellAngels — an initiative from partner Nexell, which specifically helps nonprofit organizations — came on board to build a bespoke solution with Nonprofit Cloud for the WHO Foundation’s fiduciary needs.

Setting up a Secure, Yet Flexible Platform

The newly-created foundation was raising funds globally with multiple types of stakeholders via numerous channels. For example, the fundraising team was contacting high-net-worth individuals, foundations, and companies using many different tools, like online donation forms, matching gift platforms, round-up donation platforms, and peer-to-peer fundraising. All these channels needed to be integrated and sometimes processed, which was occasionally done through fiduciary partners.

Of course, everything had to pass the due diligence process before receiving the funds, and everything had to be integrated into the Salesforce platform. The due diligence level is automatically calculated based on the annual donation amount of the donor, in order to allocate priorities based on risk assessment and donation amount. Normally Nexell has to make everything a bit leaner for a small organization, but for the WHO Foundation it was instead necessary to integrate a lot of exceptions in order to automate and streamline all the different processes.

In this project, the fund allocation needed to be very granular across the campaigns and the pillars of those campaigns. One of those pillars was allocated for oxygen supply in South America. Some donations for that pillar had already been processed, but then an event arose during the summer of 2021 while Salesforce was being implemented: the Delta variant of COVID-19 was coming, and with it the life-threatening issue of accessing oxygen supplies in India. Overnight, the foundation needed to have the ability to change the campaign pillar and reallocate funds for India. This abrupt change meant the Foundation needed to contact those who had already donated to ask their permission to reallocate the money to where it was now most urgently needed.

Fundraising and Donor Management

This first allocation system built on Salesforce was managing all the different tax receipts, handling all the payments and calculating all the different fees. It provided KPIs regarding what had already been raised and could therefore be communicated but also what’s available for each specific pillar and what had been spent for each project. “Nexell had the most comprehensive knowledge of the org, the different dependencies etc.,” said Karen Hitschke, chief operating officer at the WHO Foundation. “They helped us to reach common ground between the departments and then plowed all of that into giving us a system that isn’t only good, it’s tailored to fit us: meaning we can get on with our work without system distractions and irritations.”

As with all nonprofit organizations, there is also a proper fundraising and donor management element. In the first year, the foundation raised over $30M from multiple donors. Naturally, with so many donors the due diligence process had to be highly efficient, streamlined, and free from bottlenecks. One example of the system’s effectiveness is illustrated by a donation from one individual not passing the due diligence process because they had investments in the tobacco industry. The Foundation contacted the donor to explain why the donation couldn’t be processed and the person wasn’t even aware that they had investments in the tobacco industry. As a result of this information, the donor withdrew those investments which allowed the foundation to process his donation. This is a great example of how thorough and granular the foundation’s due diligence process is, far exceeding what many in the corporate sector can achieve with their know your customer (KYC) processes.

The WHO Foundation is now lean and robust, giving donors confidence and mirroring the ideals of the WHO itself. Such vital work must be carried out to the highest standards and the NexellAngels are proud to have played a supporting part in the efforts to address global health issues. The foundation and its system are so flexible that by the first week of March 2022, an international appeal to raise $57.5 million to deliver urgent healthcare to those in Ukraine and refugees was already up and running.

Eric Berseth, acting Chief Development Officer at the WHO Foundation, said, “This strategic, impact-driven project has been a success, and there is more to come. We were lucky enough to be accompanied by a partner like Nexell who has a manifest industry experience, which enabled us to optimize our processes by addressing strict complexity with smooth agility.”

Learn more about how your organization can get started with Nonprofit Cloud.

About the Author

Grégoire von Blon, Salesforce Consultant at Nexell GmbH
Grégoire von Blon
Salesforce Consultant at Nexell GmbH
At Nexell since 2019, Grégoire has specialized in the nonprofit ecosystem and has gained substantial experience in this area over the years, working with dozens of international organizations, NGOs, Foundations and associations.