The IRC Case Study 11 months ago

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About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 cities across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. The IRC’s most recent annual report shows its impact at a glance.

In 2018, the IRC and its international program partners:

  • Provided 1.6 million children with schooling and education opportunities.
  • Supported 15,645 existing businesses and 4,738 new businesses.
  • 21,982 people participated in awareness-raising sessions on governance-related topics, such as individual rights, conflict mitigation and local government hotlines.
  • Trained 23,852 people on child protection, gender-based violence and protection principles, and service delivery.
  • Reached 1.2 million people through its efforts to raise awareness about human rights, protection and gender-based violence.
  • Supported 27,827 village saving and loan association (VSLA) members. VSLA participants saved more than 1 million USD.
  • Supported 16,177 schools, education centers, vocational training centers and safe healing and learning spaces.

In the United States in 2018, the IRC:

  • Served 9,127 people with economic empowerment programs, including financial coaching, vocational training and asset building.
  • Assisted 2,175 children and parents seeking asylum in the U.S. and resettled 5,374 refugees and SIV recipients across 25 U.S. cities.
  • Worked with 8,027 volunteers in the U.S. who collectively provided more than 200,000 hours of service.

Photo credit: Andres Brenner/IRC.

How the IRC leverages Urbandoor

The IRC currently uses Urbandoor for its staff and external consultants who require apartments while traveling to the United States for longer-term IRC projects. Given that IRC’s headquarters is located in midtown Manhattan, long-term stays at local hotels can be cost-prohibitive for the IRC. Many of the IRC’s visiting staff and consultants are also required to stay in NYC or other U.S. cities for 30 or more days. For these stays, a standard hotel room is often not conducive to a productive business trip.

Through Urbandoor, the IRC secures apartments for its staff and consultants that are comfortable and convenient, and less costly than a comparable hotel.

Prior to using Urbandoor, the IRC worked with various management companies with a limited number of properties. This process was burdensome for the IRC as it required the constant checking of inventory and communication with management companies and intermediaries about apartment searches, lease reviews, invoicing, and other time-consuming matters. Plus, despite the IRC’s best efforts, most of the attempts were unsuccessful, particularly for group requests.

Urbandoor Value: Streamlining Process & Empowering Employees

Todd Veneziano, of the IRC’s Global Supply Chain team, first discovered Urbandoor when he searched for apartment aggregators and then spoke to an Urbandoor representative about its platform and capabilities. In addition to helping the IRC Global Supply Chain team streamline the process of finding alternative accommodations to hotels, Veneziano says:

“I was particularly pleased by the self-service options for staff and consultants to use in order to identify and book accommodations on their own that are most convenient to them. Further, I appreciate the fact that we could access clear reporting of the IRC’s spending via Urbandoor instead of using staff time and effort to aggregate data from a number of different suppliers. What was once a weekly function that distracted my Global Supply Chain colleagues and I from our core organizational goals has now been totally eliminated through our partnership with Urbandoor.”

Using Urbandoor has been a very positive and easy process, reports Veneziano. He says:

“… the platform offers a wide range of apartment options that can be quoted on short notice and leased electronically. The self-service aspect of the platform has been surprisingly popular and convenient and has decreased the burden on me and the Global Supply Chain team to manage every aspect of booking accommodations for staff and consultants. Overall, I was also pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our guests who enjoyed their stays in quality Urbandoor properties, and this is particularly true for New York City where housing options are often challenging and can be subpar.”

Photo credit: Andres Brenner/IRC.

A number of the IRC staff and consultants have commented to Veneziano that apartments booked through Urbandoor have been “modern, clean and more comfortable than hotel rooms.” Staying at these properties has “allowed our staff to actually feel like they at least temporarily live in New York City rather than being confined to a small hotel room during their off hours. They particularly appreciate that they can cook meals, do their own laundry and maintain a reasonable standard of comfort.” stated Veneziano.

Describing Urbandoor in a nutshell

“The platform is easy to use, the rental prices are typically 30-40% less than hotel rooms and our users are very satisfied with their accommodations. Within 24 hours of making an online request, you receive a notification on whether there is availability and you can book instantly. Additionally, we now have access to reporting that speaks to the number of placements, average price, locations rented, savings, etc. As a nonprofit, the IRC has limited resources available to focus on travel and individual guest accommodations, so a self-service platform that complies with our travel policies, reduces cost and provides a better experience for our staff and guests is an easy choice.”
Todd Veneziano, IRC Global Supply Chain

Urbandoor is extremely proud to support the IRC team’s temporary living needs in a way that saves the organization time and money so that it can focus more of those resources on their core purpose — providing humanitarian relief and reclamation.

Want to learn more or support the IRC?

At this time of unprecedented global need, the IRC offers a number of ways to get involved.

Individuals can make a tax-deductible gift to help the IRC save displaced individuals and families in crisis, organize their own fundraisers, volunteer with the IRC’s 26 U.S. offices, or take action to support IRC’s key advocacy initiatives.

To get the latest updates and help the IRC amplify its work, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For additional information on ways to get involved, please visit the IRC’s “How to Help” website feature.