Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 17 seconds

In 1999, White Ribbon Alliance was formed in response to the increasing problem of women at risk of dying in childbirth and the lack of education around quality health and well-being across the globe. Over the next 20 years, the Alliance grew rapidly, as thousands of people and groups joined the network, speaking as one voice, identifying problems in their own communities and finding specific solutions at a national level with a goal to spark change at a global level for future generations. 

Building a movement to ensure the right to health

White Ribbon Alliance is a global network of maternal health advocates campaigning for resources and policies to reduce mortality rates for mothers in developing countries. The organization leads with the mission of educating people about their health and rights, equipping them to lead change in their own communities and meet ambitious goals that contribute to a healthier world. 

According to recent White Ribbon Alliance research, in 2019 alone, the organization mobilized 1.2 million women and girls to demand their health and rights through What Women Want, a global advocacy campaign to improve quality maternal and reproductive healthcare for women and girls. Women and girls from 114 countries participated, with WRA Pakistan helping to mobilize nearly 245,000 responses from women and girls in Pakistan alone.

By realizing human rights and amplifying citizen voices to create demand for health, the organization continuously sets high goals to directly impact women across the globe including: 

  • By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births
  • By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births
  • By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programs

With over 150 countries in its international coalition and an increasingly diverse funding portfolio to meet comprehensive expansion and goals, the nonprofit organization outgrew its QuickBooks system and needed a more robust cloud-based solution to meet its fund accounting and compliance requirements.

Laying out a solid foundation to promote safe motherhood

As a global organization with different entities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Nigeria, QuickBooks was no longer meeting the organization’s needs when it came to international operations, reporting, or remote access for such a distributed workforce. 

To address these ambitious goals and prepare for continued expansion, White Ribbon Alliance migrated its QuickBooks files into its new system, Sage Intacct. This allowed the nonprofit to have easier access to real-time financial data with better financial visibility across its operations. By implementing new business processes, White Ribbon Alliance was able to eliminate manual data entry for most of its payroll, a process that used to take a full day on the previous system. 

Introducing innovation within its financial management system allowed the organization to cut out a two to three month lag in its financial close process and speeding its currency conversion process from four hours down to less than 30 minutes. The finance team can also now easily meet all the distinct grant reporting requirements of USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other funders in one day, rather than spending two months struggling to update multi-tab workbooks littered with circular reference errors. 

In an era where leaders and teams are increasingly strapped for time and resources, a new approach to technology is necessary to enable teams to focus on what matters the most, allowing technology to eliminate vast amounts of manual work. White Ribbon Alliance is now able to easily keep up with funding increases and global expansion plans while allowing its distributed workforce to focus on providing more strategic guidance to help advance the organization’s overarching mission in 2020 and beyond.

Celine Okoh, CFO, White Ribbon Alliance

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