Hackathon 4Good Produces Automated Marketing Solutions for Nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad

Suzy Strutner, Marketing Specialist

September 28, 2022

Six teams of NetSuite customers and partners spent the day developing solutions for nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.)(opens in new tab) during the tenth Hackathon 4Good at SuiteWorld, NetSuite’s annual conference. 

The Hackathon, a SuiteWorld tradition, gathers the NetSuite community on the first day of the conference to flex their technological prowess in service of a nonprofit organization. 

Drawing inspiration from the historic Underground Railroad, O.U.R. exists to rescue children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. The Utah-based organization has assisted in rescuing and supporting thousands of survivors in every US state and 30 other countries.

The Challenge 

Since going live on NetSuite earlier this year, O.U.R. has formalized workflows and established real-time reporting with the system. It uses NetSuite as a case management platform for its Aftercare programs, which support survivors. Automation keeps administrative costs low, allowing O.U.R. to use more dollars from each donation to fuel awareness, rescue operations, and aftercare. 

To further maximize its use of NetSuite, O.U.R. presented a challenge to the Hackathon teams: Develop a solution for creating customizable donor packets. 

When donating, O.U.R. supporters can choose a specific program to fund, such as international operations, aftercare, domestic law enforcement relations, or adoption. O.U.R. wanted a way to easily create packets of marketing materials specific to a donor’s areas of interest, with the ability for fundraisers and marketers to refine the packets to include information that proves most impactful.

The Solution

The Hackathon teams worked with O.U.R. throughout the day, then presented their solutions before a panel of judges including O.U.R. leadership and NetSuite engineering, product management, and solution architecture experts. The winning solution, from Team OurTrack, involved using the grant opportunity form in NetSuite(opens in new tab) to build in some additional functionality.  

With Team OurTrack’s solution, O.U.R. regional directors can now use the grant opportunity form to choose from a list of PDF marketing materials that correlate with a given donor’s interests. NetSuite will then compile the PDFs and email them to the donor. O.U.R. teams will no longer have to curate PDFs by hand and compose emails in Outlook. 

“This is amazing,” said Sarah Dalling, a project manager at O.U.R. “I wish I had this group with me all the time, because their think-power has been phenomenal. We’re looking to be good stewards of donation dollars – and when processes are automated, more of those dollars can go toward actual operations.”

Team OurTrack: Jayesh Kumar Gohel, Travis Andrews, Josh Allen, and Wayne Fowler. Not pictured: Aaron Klein.

For Hackathon participants, the event represents a chance to forge connections in the NetSuite community while fueling a nonprofit’s mission. Breaking the workday routine to solve problems in a separate industry is a welcome novelty to Hackathon participant Todd Niedringhaus, senior NetSuite administrator at talent consulting firm Vaco.

“Working across verticals and learning about different modules and uses of NetSuite is a challenge,” he said. “Everybody brings different skills to the table, and we’re able to use that unity to give back, which is pretty gratifying.” 

Discover more about NetSuite Social Impact(opens in new tab), including software donation and pro bono services.

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