COVID-19: Strategic Partnerships and Technology Support Nonprofits

Published April 17, 2020

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is leveraging technology to get donations of critical, high-demand supplies to community nonprofits and partners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 23, 2020 update: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) has announced it is matching donations from this campaign at 100%. To date, donors have raised more than $10,000. BCBSLA will match employee donations to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit fundraiser on the YouGiveGoods online platform. 

The COVID-19 crisis has left many community nonprofits in a difficult position of seeking help at a time when Americans are following stay-at-home directives and minimizing outside activities to only the essentials to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. Using an online platform and its own community resources, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) has demonstrated leadership and innovation by taking an existing partnership and its online technology to bridge the gap in supporting charitable giving during a time of social distancing.

A unique platform for giving

In 2019, BCBSLA partnered with YouGiveGoods, an organization that simplifies charitable giving with a free platform allowing nonprofits to conduct a virtual donation drive. In the beginning, the partnership helped BCBSLA continue to meet its goal of promoting the wellness of Louisianans by supporting projects and programs for health related causes. The platform has enabled BCBSLA to increase donations by engaging corporations and donors in a new way. The first online donation drives supported military families, a toy drive and a healthy food drive.

Crisis response: COVID-19

BCBSLA leveraged this partnership and technology platform to quickly pivot to support and provide resources to many community organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In less than a day, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana set up a special COVID-19 donation page to enable employees and others to donate. An online format allows for donation drives to be easily promoted and shared through social media and other electronic formats.

"We have worked with YouGiveGoods previously and knew we could get a process together in a couple hours," said Kellie Duhon, BCBSLA corporate giving program manager. "Being able to respond quickly and deliver resources efficiently is a key part of how we support everyday people to do extraordinary good."

The BCBSLA COVID-19 page allows nonprofit organizations to list specific items needed like non-perishable food, protective gloves and disinfectant wipes. Donors can go online to select items, add them to a donation shopping cart and make the purchase quickly and easily from their home. This approach is ideal during this time of social distancing, which limits the actual work performed by nonprofit staff and volunteers:

  • Unlike collection bins, charities receive only items and quantities they need.
  • This process eliminates the sorting, counting and transporting process.
  • YouGiveGoods handles all the logistics including tax receipts, event set up, delivery and tracking.

The COVID-19 donation drive will continue through April as BCBSLA continues to invest in initiatives that will help Louisianans both in the short and long term. In addition to the innovative partnership, the BCBSLA Foundation has also committed more than $2 million in disaster response grants for nonprofit organizations. The funds are designed to support immediate needs like food, shelter and utility bills. Grants can also be used to support long term needs ranging from patient education to care navigation.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Learn more about out how BCBSLA is giving nonprofits flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis to support immediate needs of the community.