Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award Finalist Profile: The App That Makes It Easy to Donate

A mobile application initiated by SAP’s sales organization helps raise funds for disaster relief services in Africa and around the world.

In June 2017 wildfires tore through the coastal South African town of Knysna, killing at least four people and forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. In response, the Gift of the Givers Foundation rallied to raise funds to provide important disaster relief services — all with the help of a week-old mobile app built by SAP.

The Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster relief organization of African origin on the continent, and, like many other NGOs, one of its biggest challenges is reaching donors. With help from a team from Global Customer Operations, Gift of the Givers went digital to make it easier for people to donate via a secure mobile application.

Cloud-Based App with Usability at Its Core

The project was rooted in SAP’s cloud strategy and vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. The team worked to streamline Gift of the Giver’s fundraising by ensuring the app was designed with purpose, in the cloud, with simplicity and usability at its core.

First, the mobile app is digitally inclusive so that more people, regardless of income level or access, can contribute to the humanitarian work of Gift of the Givers. Second, the app drives transparency among donors by including the latest updates of the organization’s relief work. Finally, the mobile app will be able to disperse emergency information going forward.

Just one week after go-live the app was used to support the Knysna fire disaster. It has since raised funds for several other projects driven by Gift of the Givers, which is well-known for its rapid deployment assistance during disasters around the world, as well as providing search and rescue teams, medical personal and supplies, medication and vaccines, and much more.

Many SAP Teams Contributed

Teams from two continents worked together to overcome technical challenges, including balancing aesthetics and performance to ensure usability under poor network conditions and undergoing a last-minute redesign due to local banking regulations. Yet through it all, an agile design-driven strategy enabled the application to go live in just months thanks to seamless teamwork with SAP product development teams, SAP Value Prototyping, an external advertising agency, and an external app development startup.

With the first deployment of SAP Cloud Platform in Africa, the team demonstrated the purpose-driven potential of SAP solutions.

“I believe that technology for the sake of technology doesn’t really add any value,” said team member Anish Saxena, who supported team leads Nazia Pillay and Dilip Radhakrishnan. “When it is used to support people on the ground, when it helps people improve their lives, that is the real value of technology. That is the most inspiring part of the project.”

The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is the highest employee recognition at SAP, awarded annually by the CEO to an individual or a team.

Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission title: Cloud Platform App for Better Disaster Relief
  • Board area: Global Customer Operations
  • Team: Greater Good Team (Nazia Pillay, Dilip Radhakrishnan, Anish Saxena, Pavel Lazhbanau, and Aliaksandr Vashyna)
  • Achievement: A mobile application for the Gift of the Givers Foundation to facilitate donations to the largest disaster relief organization of African origin on the African continent. The application is the first live deployment of SAP Cloud Platform in Africa, and was built to be digitally inclusive, enable transparent donations, and disburse emergency information.
  • Impact: Just one week after going live, the mobile app was used to support relief measures for the Knysna fire disaster in South Africa. Since its go-live in June it has raised thousands of dollars for various causes and has 700 active downloads