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Gift Processing with ImportOmatic after the 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Early each year I'm reminded of something I consider a formative event in Omatic Software's history. In January 2010 Haiti was struck by an earthquake that decimated their infrastructure and killed well over 100,000 people. It was impossible to see the pictures and not get emotional. Everybody wanted to do something but felt pretty much helpless. Other than donating there was not much the average person could do.

A Haiti health organization that had previously looked at ImportOmatic for gift processing suddenly called back ready to buy it on the spot. A little while into the paperwork it dawned on me that our company would be profiting directly as a result of this tragedy. I broke out in a sweat... Is that the sort of people we are? We called the organization back and offered to let them use the software for free for six months and said we'd do all training and services immediately at no cost. We asked another client if they would be willing to delay their implementation to get this organization up and running as soon as possible. We wrote custom software at no cost to do things like split out spouse names and split very, very large transaction files into smaller files for importing. We learned a lot about high volume processing and making our software faster and easier for users to navigate and make quick decisions. We also decided one organization wasn't enough; we opened up the exact same offer to any Haiti-related organization that needed it, and a few others took us up on it. In the end, after all the donations were imported and the dust had settled, most of those organizations decided to purchase ImportOmatic and they remain active clients to this day.

Turns out, there was something we could do to help. And it was good to have an opportunity to find out what sort of people we are.

Someone recently asked "What is the typical daily or weekly threshold for number of gifts processed?" That reminded me of this graph we created from the gift activity before, during, and after the earthquake demonstrating the power of ImportOmatic (and the willingness of people to give to a good cause). Every time I see it it helps bring into focus for me both who we are and what we do.


1 Comment

Thanks for reminding us how much good can come out of a terrible event Jeff!

In many ways Haiti is still recovering from the devastation of the earthquake but in many others they have come out ahead of where they started.

For anyone interested in how the earthquake has affected (and continues to affect) the Haitian people I would recommend Paul Farmer's book Haiti After the Earthquake

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