Disaster Response Mangement


Tracking Disaster Relief Funding Across the Globe

The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) supports societies across the globe by sending funding and resources to help with disaster response management. These societies, called “National Societies,” are independent, country-level operations that turn to the IFRC for assistance after natural disasters strike. The IFRC distributes funding and resources after receiving requests from these societies.

Before Development Seed was tasked with helping, the IFRC tracked all society information in multiple systems, databases, and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Often, data entry was done manually and repeated in multiple systems, resulting in tedious and time-consuming practices.


Discovering Common Frustrations Across IFRC teams

To tackle this challenge, I spent a week embedded in the IFRC’s headquarters in Switzerland interviewing users. I interviewed 15 individuals from multiple IFRC teams and National Societies to collect qualitative data about their workflows, current tools, systems, and challenges.

Key Findings

  • Increase communications and data sharing through IFRC and its network
  • Decrease number of calls needed to the field
  • Increase number of field reports submitted
  • Consolidate databases in order to reduce the amount data sources and the need for manual updates
  • Provide more impactful data for users
  • Provide better analysis on submitted data, and include line items such as implementation rates and beneficiaries reached in real time
  • Provide thorough information for donors in order to establish credibility and allow them to make better decisions about where/what to donate
  • Historic data can be helpful for decision-making
  • Data needs to be updated in real time (or as soon as possible)
  • Strong visualizations are impactful
  • Users want to understand things at a glance
  • Visuals are helpful for presentations
  • National societies seems more likely to share information if they can see where it’s going and gain value from it


Addressing User and Stakeholder Needs with Site Structure and Functionality

I structured the platform to benefit both those at the IFRC and those at National Red Cross Societies. I included aggregate stats on global deployments and funding pages in order to benefit those at IFRC headquarters, but also ensured National Societies had country-level pages to track their own efforts.

IFRC Go Sitemap

Simplifying Commonly Used Forms

Because users wanted to increase communications and decrease calls to the field, I redesigned common forms to make them easier to fill out and save drafts. By simplifying the form and using common UX patterns, National Societies could provide information easier and quicker regarding their field operations.

form 1 form 2

Presenting Information for Multiple Users

During user interviews, I discovered that higher level IFRC employees were displaying maps while doing Facebook Live events. National Societies were often presenting maps and graphics to donors. To help make presenting graphics and maps an easier process for both users, I included a full-screen option on some pages.

homepage present mode


Flexible and Scalable System

IFRC wanted to make sure their new tracking system was scalable and flexible and could grow and adapt as they gained access to new data sources. To accommodate this, we included event pages, that would allow IFRC to start tracking a disaster before it struck and had funding requests from National Societies. It would also allow IFRC to pull in background information, such as a hurricane’s path, from other sources. Additionally, any static graphics already being created by the society could be shown here as well with an option upload.

event page mockup