UkraineNow is a crowdsourcing platform supporting Ukrainians affected by the war. It was launched on February 24, 2022 by a Ukrainian entrepreneur and software developer with previous experience in volunteer organizing, based in Los Angeles. UkraineNow matches volunteers with people in need, helping to evacuate citizens and provide other aid and information. It also crowdfunds to provide financial support as well as in kind contributions of medicine supplies, food, etc. UkraineNow operates via a non-profit and relies on monetary and in-kind donations and support from several large companies, as well as extensive volunteer participation. It also partnered with U.S. cyber security firms to receive pro bono help in fighting cyberattacks that started from the first week of the platform’s operation.
Theory of Change
Decentralized volunteer efforts can help provide aid to those in need to further cross-border solidarity.
The platform helps match volunteers with those who are seeking help across Europe. Individuals in need and volunteers register according to the categories of help, using nine European languages offered on the platform. They are then matched and contacted through messaging apps. UkraineNow facilitates assistance in crossing the border, transportation, finding housing and work abroad, and more. The initiative also hires drivers from Poland and other countries and has purchased two ambulances to evacuate injured people. Among the information UkraineNow offers on its website is a map comparing European countries’ minimum wage to cost of living information in order to help refugees evaluate their prospects for resettlement. Apart from its work in Europe, UkraineNow has also supported Ukrainian refugees on the U.S.-Mexican border in Tijuana, Mexico. In early May, UkraineNow joined the Footage Foundation and other humanitarian organizations to develop FemSMS communications network for trafficking prevention. FemSMS delivers one-way text messages with information to women and their families with resources, hotlines, and emergency contacts. UkraineNow provides access to networks and resources to the initiative.
As of early May 2022, UkraineNow has raised over $230,000 USD and spent almost $180,000 USD. Using UkraineNow, 6,780 refugees have applied for housing, and 4,370 people were safely evacuated. It has on-boarded 714 drivers so far. Over 4,000 volunteers and over 6,200 potential hosts have signed up to help through UkraineNow‘s online form.