Companies working together restored my faith in mankind
March 2020, Poland. The pandemic officially starts. Every day we get worrying news about the number of COVID-positive cases. G2A’s R&D centers begin just a few days after the first case in Poland. Too bad many of our friends and family members have no such option.
There aren’t that many people infected with coronavirus, especially if we compare these numbers to what’s going on today. But how unprepared all healthcare is makes your blood run cold.
The most popular word at the time was “ventilator.” So we thought G2A should contribute to the fight against the pandemic somehow. For example, we could buy some life-saving medical equipment for hospitals in the cities where our offices are located.
I contacted those facilities, and what I learned truly shocked me.
They had enough ventilators, at least for the moment. But they virtually lacked everything else.
Friends in need…
I may be exaggerating here, but not by much. Doctors and nurses who were saving lives and putting themselves at risk of infection didn’t even have gloves or face masks. No one was prepared. Hospitals didn’t even have enough cleaning supplies. Some also ran out of beds they could put their patients in.
We obviously decided to help, but we knew that even a significant amount of money is merely a drop in the ocean of needs.
Pretty much every conversation with healthcare reps followed this template:
“We want to help. What are your most urgent needs? Do you have any shortages of supplies?”
“Yes. We lack everything.”
“OK, but what exactly? Do you need bedclothes? Juices, maybe? I know a company that can offer some.”
“We’ll be grateful for anything.”
After listening to dreadful stories from doctors or hospitals’ directors we used all the contacts we had to ask whether there are more companies that would be willing to help. The timing wasn’t easy for them either, as businesses already struggled with smaller income and were facing a rapidly approaching crisis. But guess what — almost everyone answered positively. Yes, they wanted to do something.
The two questions that I kept hearing over and over again were “How can we help?” and “We can’t afford much, is [the amount of money] something worth donating?”
…are friends indeed
Despite all the damage caused by coronavirus worldwide, helping others was my career’s most humbling, but also extremely rewarding moment. Exchanging emails, calling hospitals and connecting those in need with those who could help them kept me busy all day long. We secured lots of help, ranging from food supplies to expensive medical equipment, all to make a real change in addressing the needs of nearby institutions.
However, over time I realized this method wasn’t as effective as I wished it to be.
What I learned, though, was amazing. Businesses offered unique ways of helping, every single one of them very valuable. One company, for example, adapted their sewing equipment so that it could be used to make bed sheets. Someone else donated cleaning supplies. One company was unable to offer anything, but they got us in touch with Chinese manufacturers, which helped a lot. Back then, the Polish market was overrun by speculators. Hospitals were forced to buy things on the Internet, and from people selling life-saving equipment with markups of up to 500%.
We connected the dots. Institutions needed all sorts of aid. Companies wanted to lend a hand, but didn’t know how. And since G2A is a marketplace, we have solid experience in building online platforms.We decided to put it to good use and create a website that would those in need easily reach those willing to help.
Organization means efficiency
This is how www.dzialajmyrazem.pl(*) came to life. It was a rather crude website, but all the necessary functions were there. The platform let institutions post their needs, to which companies could reply with offers of help.
A thorough KYC procedure was key here. No trolls or fake accounts could be allowed to abuse the platform. And we were successful. No bogus “CEOs of Samsung” appeared on dzialajmyrazem.pl. No one offered help institutions would then never receive. G2A’s AML (Anti-Money Laundering) team did a tremendous job here. We created secure procedures, trained the crew, and launched the platform.
It was an absolutely humbling experience to see event agencies, affected by the crisis the most, help hospitals with transportation and setting up tents, all for free.
I was never more proud of G2A and my colleagues. We got plenty of support on our closed groups. We gathered an entire army of volunteers willing to work on the website in their spare time. Crunch? No big deal when there’s a cause worth crunching for! Also, with the tremendous help from our friends at Google, Open Dialogue Foundation and influencers we’re working with on daily basis, we were able to launch several marketing campaigns.
All that resulted in thousands of masks, gloves, pieces of hospital equipment, computers, and many other resources donated to those who needed them the most. It was an absolutely humbling experience to see event agencies, affected by the crisis the most, help hospitals with transportation and setting up tents, all for free.
I tend to lose faith in humanity from time to time. But when I see things like that happen, I surely regain hope.
Today, even if the numbers of COVID-positive patients are on the rise, life-saving institutions are now ready. There are still plenty of problems, such as undermanned hospitals, but unfortunately, this isn’t something we can help with.
Dzialajmyrazem.pl has served its purpose. It has been retired and is now archived. But I promise that the platform will return whenever it’s needed again.
(*) A rough translation of “działajmy razem” would be “let’s work together”Back