The American Red Cross has come a long way since 1881 when the newly founded emergency response organization communicated by telegraph during disasters. Today, like many global organizations, The Red Cross sees the value of using social networks to connect more quickly and effectively than its founders could have ever dreamed possible.
A recent Red Cross survey revealed that nearly a quarter of the general public and a third of the online population would use social media to let loved ones know they're safe in an emergency. It also found that people use social media during disasters to get updates, seek and give help, and connect to others.
With this data in mind, The Red Cross unveiled its Digital Operations Center, a command center dedicated to monitoring and staying in touch with the public using social channels. The innovative system uses Radian6 for listening to social media conversations—which can supply invaluable information during a disaster, and even monitor public preparedness for a serious situation.
"Radian6 gives us ways to measure the effectiveness of our community outreach," says Wendy Harman, Director of Social Strategy. "It's shortened the time for us to gather and analyze information so we can focus on turning what we learn into actionable strategies."
Red Cross team members will also use social data gathered in its Digital Operations Center to determine where to position workers on the ground.
Streamlining and improving administration—including managing volunteers, donors, training, events, and office functions—is also part of The Red Cross's social strategy. Communication with its 150 national partners and with disaster directors at more than 800 Red Cross chapters is easier with Salesforce. "It's the future," says John Crary, CIO. "Salesforce helps us effectively manage our most valuable resources—the volunteers, partners, and donors that make what we do possible."