AWS Public Sector Blog

Driven by the mission: A look back at how nonprofits built a better world in 2019

As we reach the end of the year, conversations shift from, “What do I need to accomplish today?” to, “What can I do better next year?” As planning begins for 2020, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details of what didn’t go well when setting goals for the new year. This holiday season, focus less on being critical of what you didn’t achieve and more focused on what you did. Ask yourself: what did you do well this year? What drove you to do those things? How did you accomplish them?

For customers in the nonprofit space, I see many remarkable things being accomplished despite many organizations having to run lean, with little to no IT resources. These organizations are driven to keep innovating, accomplish goals, and embrace change. But how? It’s simple: they’re driven by their mission.

In relentless pursuit of their mission, nonprofits look for ways to run lean, freeing them to be fast, agile, and even global. Technology allows nonprofits to cost-effectively reach donors and manage donor relationships with reliable services. The cloud paves the way for innovation and allows nonprofits to make the world a better place through technology.

As we embark on a new year, take a look at some stories of our customers and how they are building a better world, in hope they will inspire you to be driven by purpose, passion, and a mission focus.

Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters, went all-in on AWS as its standard for machine learning workloads. Using AWS’s unmatched portfolio of services to build new technology-driven initiatives, Best Friends seeks to end the killing of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by 2025. Best Friends uses AWS database, serverless, machine learning, and analytics capabilities to run all operations while enhancing the adoption experience and managing on-demand animal transportation opportunities for pets at risk of euthanasia in overcrowded shelters. Read more about Best Friends.

Rainforest Connection is a 501c3 that creates technology to empower protectors of the rainforest who want to end illegal deforestation in real-time. When you cut down a tree in the rainforest, carbon stored for hundreds of years releases back into the atmosphere. And when you prevent logging in one square mile of the forest, it saves 15,000 tons of carbon from releasing back into the atmosphere. This team is using data uploads to the cloud where machine learning and artificial intelligence work to root out sounds that don’t belong – such as chainsaws. They then alert teams on-the ground to intervene in deforestation acts in near-real-time.

Tarjimly is using a machine learning based tool for refugees to eliminate language barriers in times of crisis, enabling volunteers to match with refugees who speak their language and dialect in real-time. The Tarjimly organization started from an idea that stemmed from the Syrian refugee crisis. The team has worked diligently this past year powered by purpose and the belief that being seen and heard is a basic human right. Watch the full Tarjimly story.

Feeling inspired? Check out more inspirational stories by watching the AWS Imagine Grant documentary series, which shares the stories of past winners of the AWS Imagine Grant Program.

If you work for a nonprofit organization or are interested in starting your own nonprofit and want to network and learn with like-minded individuals, join us at our annual AWS Imagine Nonprofit Conference. This year, we will be holding the conference in Washington, DC in September. Dates and venue will be announced in early 2020. Learn more about AWS for nonprofits and NGOs.