Haiti, a culturally-rich Caribbean nation that shares an island with the Dominican Republic, has a long history of natural disasters. One of its largest was a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010 that struck less than 20 miles away from the country’s capital. While estimates of the death toll vary, many believe that over 200,000 people died. And in 2016, Hurricane Matthew tore through the country, leaving over 500 dead and over one million homeless.
Hope for Haiti, a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for Haitian people, especially children, was there—before, during, and after these disasters. The organization supports and helps lift Haitians out of poverty through programs that focus on education, healthcare, infrastructure, access to water, and loans and grants to Haitian businesses and entrepreneurs.
Skyler Badenoch has been Hope for Haiti’s CEO for three years, but his love for Haiti started over thirteen years ago. In fact, he witnessed Hope for Haiti’s response to the 2010 earthquake and lent a hand himself. Today he oversees a team of 65 in both Haiti and the US. Ten members of his team work out of the US focused on fundraising, marketing, administrative support, finance, and governance, while the other 55, based in Haiti, are doctors, nurses, educators, and administrators—all of whom are Haitian. The bi-national organization is committed to transparency, accountability, and good governance. They are also one of the highest-rated nonprofit organizations by third party rating platforms like Charity Navigator and Guidestar. By following best practices in their work, they encourage trust in Haiti and in philanthropy in general.
In 2007, Hope for Haiti managed a $1 million dollar annual budget and four staff members in Haiti. Since then, they’ve increased their staff by 15x and their budget by 4x—and that’s without including their in-kind donation program, which has grown to $11 million (over 10x). Though the organization’s growth has led to greater impact in Haiti, it has also exposed challenges, like inefficient communications, donor relations, and reporting.
“As an organization grows, communication starts to bottleneck. At Hope for Haiti, we’ve seen those inefficiencies hurt us: when we can’t run like a well-oiled machine, we’re not serving as many people as we could be—and it’s our responsibility to improve upon that.”- Skyler Badenoch, CEO
In the organization's most recent SWOT analysis—which it does every few years—multiple people identified project and donor communications as an area for organizational improvement. As a result, Skyler decided to research platforms that could help them communicate and manage their work in one place.
Armed with the SWOT analysis results, Skyler quickly identified four areas a work management platform could remove bottlenecks. He needed to:
After trying another light-weight work management tool, Skyler was disappointed—it wasn’t intuitive or robust enough for his team’s needs. But when his executive coach, a colleague, and an industry peer all suggested Asana, he decided to try out the free version to see if it would meet the organization's needs.
Based on his research, Skyler knew that the best way for Asana to be a success would be to get executive buy-in. He decided to get the core leadership on board and comfortable using Asana first and then roll it out to other members of the organization. So he began using Asana with his team to track their weekly goal setting and check-in meetings. On Monday mornings, they would each add three professional goals and one personal goal to the shared Asana project. Throughout the week, teammates would check in with each other using comments.
Using Asana to track these weekly goals quickly became automatic for the team. They could see the status of each goal, and these tasks acted as a built-in agenda for each week’s meeting, and it immediately improved the team’s ability to communicate.
“Our communication as a leadership team immediately improved when we began tracking our weekly goals in Asana. Plus, it gave me a snapshot of our progress towards priorities across the organization.”- Skyler Badenoch, CEO
While Hope for Haiti started on Asana’s free plan, the organization knew it could operate more effectively with paid features. So in mid-March 2020, when Asana announced it would offer free Asana Business plans to nonprofits working on the front lines of medical research and relief for COVID-19, Skyler applied and Asana donated a free Business plan for the next 12 months.
With the power of Asana Business, Skyler began looking for ways to move the entire organization’s work onto the platform. Their largest and most important initiative—their annual Strategic Plan—was up first, and Skyler turned to the Asana Advisors for help. With an Advisor’s guidance, Skyler and the team transformed their complex plan of multiple objectives, strategies, and tactics into Asana projects. Now, the Hope for Haiti team uses Portfolios to track work towards the Strategic Plan across the organization and project timelines to see progress and create status reports. With the cornerstone of the organization in Asana, Skyler felt reaffirmed that Asana was the right solution for his team.
“To have an Asana Advisor help us migrate our Strategic Plan into the platform saved us time, removed a huge roadblock from our rollout, and gave us the confidence that Asana was the right solution for us.”- Skyler Badenoch, CEO
With the foundation laid by their weekly goals and Strategic Plan projects in Asana, Skyler and the organization expanded their usage to include more workflows, including:
“Grant management is critical because funding is so hard to come by. The efficiencies we’ve gained with Asana help us become a more competitive organization so we can pursue new funding sources and save time.”- Skyler Badenoch, CEO
“When COVID-19 happened, our organization was uniquely qualified to respond to this type of disaster—we have doctors on our team and board, we have a history of working in emergencies—but we still needed an organizational tool like Asana to help us drive the process.”- Skyler Badenoch, CEO
With the help of Asana Business, Hope for Haiti is now able to work faster with donors. In a recent opportunity, the organization was chosen by professional tennis player, Naomi Osaka, to receive a $25,000 donation from her participation in an online gaming tournament to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. The Hope for Haiti team used Asana to navigate the relationship, making sure that they sent the right materials and didn’t miss a single touchpoint with Naomi’s team.
And when Hope for Haiti received the donation, it wanted to report its impact to Naomi. Before Asana, this process would have entailed multiple files and a long email thread. But by tracking the donation’s impact in Asana, the team was able to pull together a report and share it with Naomi in just a few weeks.
“There is no way we would have been able to put together the reports on Naomi Osaka’s contribution as quickly without Asana.”- Skyler Badenoch, CEO
Though COVID-19 has shifted the focus for Hope for Haiti (and been an example for how quickly it can respond in the face of an emergency using Asana), Skyler and the team remain staunchly committed to moving the needle on their core initiatives: improving access to quality education, healthcare, clean drinking water, in-kind medical donations, and economic opportunity. Using Asana, Skyler knows that the organization’s impact on these initiatives will only increase with its newfound efficiencies and processes.
And with a renewed connection between the organization’s core values and how they deliver on their goals, Hope for Haiti is better poised than ever to continue exceeding its goals. For example, the team will use Asana to plan its annual Hike for Haiti fundraiser, which challenges people from all over the world to hike in solidarity with school children who walk unreasonable distances to school in Haiti. The changes Skyler and his team hope to make represent a large mountain to climb, but his team is better poised than ever to make the journey and impact their beloved Haiti with the help of Asana.
“As the CEO, it was hard to know what was going on across every team. Asana gives me visibility into all work happening–whether it’s fundraising and donor management or on the ground operations.”- Skyler Badenoch, CEO
Using Asana wall-to-wall has been crucial in helping Hack Reactor scale. As Hack Reactor CEO Tony Phillips puts it, ”We’ve cut our operations costs in half because we’re able to execute more efficiently with the processes we’ve set up in Asana.“ And as costs go down, the quality class experience—and the post graduation experience— goes up. Graduates from Hack Reactor are hired at a 98% rate.