Ukraine has been fighting against Russian invaders for over half a year already. Many things have changed since the very beginning of the war. While some Ukrainian businesses collapsed, others recovered within a month or two or even expanded their reach by working at the maximum capacity and seizing every single opportunity.
Regardless of the challenges, the Ukrainian IT industry remains a stronghold of our country’s economy and a powerful source of charitable initiatives. There’s hardly a tech company that hasn’t donated money to support our defenders or refugees, and Redwerk is no exception.
We’d like to share what we’ve been doing since the first days of the invasion and analyze the results of the #redwerkforukraine initiative. We believe our experience will inspire others to do the same, and that’s how together we defeat the occupiers!
In this article, we’ll cover:
How Redwerk Supports Ukraine
The best thing Ukrainian businesses can do for Ukraine is to continue working. This will help to keep the economy afloat because employed people have purchasing power. Taxes also play a crucial part in filling the country’s budget, and that was our primary focus during the first weeks of the war.
At the same time, we knew that was not enough. From March on, we’ve allocated money for donations and thought of other ways we could be useful.
One Million Monthly
In March, we didn’t know if our business would survive even though our clients showed unwavering support and utmost understanding. Nonetheless, we knew that without a free, sovereign, and peaceful Ukraine, without our home, nothing else would matter.
We resumed working four days after the invasion, albeit partially, to keep the economic front. We also realized that the military front, our defenders guarding our sleep at night, are in dire need of support too.
“I got inspired by a friend of mine, Max Lysak, founder of Mate Academy. He was among the first Ukrainian thought leaders who started donating to Ukrainian nonprofits supporting defense efforts. If a Ukrainian education startup can do it, we as an established business can afford it too,”
Thanks to businesses who turned to us for IT services and our team’s commitment to delivering their best work, we’ve been making donations in support of Ukraine for five months straight. Here is how it went.
In March, we donated one BTC, which at the time was approximately $40K, to the Come Back Alive nonprofit.
The organization was founded back in 2014, the time when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and occupied part of the Donbas region.
They are focused on purely defense initiatives and are well-known across Ukraine and abroad as a trustworthy fund.
In April, we sent one million hryvnias to the Serhiy Prytula Foundation. This charity was actually suggested by several employees and is one of the most popular nonprofits in Ukraine. For example, when Prytula announced a nationwide fundraiser to purchase three Bayraktar drones, he initially assumed it would take up to a week. However, he was pleasantly surprised to collect $600 mln in just three days, enough to buy not three but four Bayraktars.
But instead of Bayraktars, Prytula purchased something way more impactful – ICEYE’s satellite. These folks never disappoint, so we believe we made the right choice by supporting them.
In May, Redwerk together with IZIVIZ, a Ukraine-based drone manufacturing startup, spent a million on surveillance drones and batteries for them.
Redwerk for Ukraine
In June we allocated one more million for charity, which was split between teammates within the #redwerkforukraine initiative. Each participant could decide on their own what nonprofit to support. Read on to learn the details.
In July we continued our research of vetted nonprofits and supported five more charities. One million hryvnias was equally divided between Tykho, Hospitallers, Zemliachky, Spilnota Diya, and Shields Ukraine.
In August we diversified our help by splitting one million UAH between major Ukrainian cities, such as Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, and charities working across the entire Ukraine.
This time we supported two volunteers we know personally and eight more organizations working tirelessly for our victory: Zgraya, Leleka Foundation, Riy, Kharkiv Help, Alava Design Studio, Palyanycia, SHTD. Each of them received 100K hryvnias.
Just like in The Rembrandts’ song, we are always there for our teammates when the rain starts to pour. In our case, however, it was no rain but a full-scale invasion.
Two of our teammates decided to join the military to defend our country against Russian occupiers. To support them, we paid them in full for two more months, and the next two months they received half of their salaries.
Besides that, we remain in touch and try to address urgent needs of their military units. On their request, we already purchased a power generator, navigation gadgets, and tactical boots.
Redwerk also matches all the fundraisers arranged by teammates, and that’s what happened when our favorite event management contractor, now serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reached out for help. Having combined Redwerkers’ individual contributions with corporate giving, we managed to quickly close his fundraiser for a car.
Our emergency support applies not only to employees in the military service but each and every teammate, including newcomers who are still on the probation period. Whether it’s relocation to safety, birth of a child, or health issues, we allocate financial support on a case-by-case basis.
We also support our partners and businesses we personally know. Redwerk’s founder Konstantin is also a partner and investor in Iziviz, a Ukrainian drone manufacturer that builds UAVs for inspecting confined industrial spaces or enclosed assets.
Since the start of the war, Iziviz shifted focus from building enterprise inspection drones to surveillance and delivery aerial vehicles for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. With our financial support, the Iziviz team managed to develop new combat-ready solutions.
Here is VTOL №1, a lightweight surveillance drone that remains airborne for up to 2 hours and has an x10 optical zoom camera that can infinitely rotate around its axis.
Here is IZIHexa, a powerful reconnaissance & delivery drone that carries up to 10 kg of cargo, has a transmission range of 10 km, and is equipped with a thermal imager to locate targets during nighttime.
Last but certainly not least is RD5, a surveillance and delivery drone equipped with x30 zoom, high sensitivity Sony camera, which allows gathering intelligence even in poor light conditions.
First weeks of the war were full of uncertainty and fear, which prompted many companies to resort to such radical decisions as downsizing and payment cuts. Redwerk, on the contrary, relied on its battle-tested strategy to do the opposite and look for opportunities even in the most unfavorable scenarios.
When businesses started laying off employees during the pandemic, we continued hiring to strengthen our team with all the new talents now available on the job market. We did the same during the invasion. But this time, our key motivation driver was the desire to help out fellow Ukrainians who lost jobs because of the war.
Actually, we even managed to surpass our pre-war hiring metrics. What used to be 2-3 hires per month has turned into 5. We’ve hired 25 people in five months, and we hope to move with the same pace forward. For a midsize agency like Redwerk, such results are pretty impressive. If you want to become part of our team, check out our vacancies here.
One employed ICT specialist can provide for the entire family and support local businesses by buying their products and services. Imagine how many great deeds a team of 80 can do. So if you’re looking for an IT vendor, consider choosing one from Ukraine.
What’s worth mentioning is that we stay in Ukraine. Unlike many IT service companies that opened offices in Poland, Romania or Bulgaria and lure Ukrainian specialists there, at this time we don’t want to do so – this will only hurt our country’s economy and demographic situation.
On top of that, men aged 18 to 60 are prohibited from leaving Ukraine by martial law, so they need job opportunities here in Ukraine, and that’s what we as a company strive to provide.
Of course, those Redwerkers who have an opportunity to cross the border can do so. Our work-from-anywhere policy allows our teammates to choose where they feel most safe, happy, and productive.
Info campaigns are no less important. Even though it may seem like the entire world already knows the truth about what’s going on in Ukraine and that Russia is a terrorist state, the reality is different.
People get tired of hearing war news; media outlets switch their attention to other global issues while the war and Russian propaganda rage on. Just look at how shamelessly Amnesty International justifies horrendous Russian crimes, devoting the entire report to accusations of Ukrainian defenders while barely mentioning Russia’s massacre. These victim-blaming narratives do no good for Ukraine: instead of uplifting our spirit, they want us to doubt our defenders’ skills and good judgment.
From the beginning of the war and on, the Redwerk team has been creating war-related content, reaching out to media providers and foreign partners, and using our social media channels to communicate the truth.
We also launched several info campaigns like #buyfromukraine and #workwithukraine, encouraging foreign businesses and individual consumers to opt for Ukrainian products and services. Now our merch and gifts for employees and clients are solely made in Ukraine.
One of our latest campaigns is #redwerkforukraine, so let’s dive right in!
Redwerk for Ukraine Charity
Redwerk for Ukraine is a charity initiative that allowed each Redwerker to directly support their friends or relatives serving either in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, National Guard, Territorial Defense Forces, or engaged in crisis relief efforts. It was also possible to donate money to the nonprofit of their choosing.
The allocated one million hryvnias was equally divided between all the teammates who wanted to participate. To keep things transparent, we asked our teammates to provide receipts. Another requirement was to post about their donation on social media for more people to learn about it.
The charity campaign is over, and we’re thrilled to share our results.
How many participated
At the time of launching the charity, Redwerk employed 82 ICT specialists. Almost half of the respondents welcomed our idea. One million hryvnias was divided between 40 participants, so each employee had 25K hryvnias at their disposal.
We believe such a high engagement can be attributed to several facts. First, Redwerkers are used to various fundraisers and charitable projects since we’ve already contributed to plenty.
Second, giving away corporate money is easier than digging into your savings. Last but not least, the war leaves no one indifferent. Despite the trying times we’re living through, people have united like never before.
The biggest share of participants were aged 26-30 years, which is not surprising since specialists of this age comprise the prevailing part of our team.
For clients’ projects we employ only middle-to-senior experts, which is also evident in the results – 85% of participants are seasoned employees. At the same time, we also hire younger talents and interns, entrusting them with handling Redwerk’s internal projects.
Each donation aimed to satisfy a specific individual request or support a particular project. Therefore, we had a clear understanding of where the money went and what causes our employees financed.
As we see, our defenders have a dire need for trucks and petrol. This category includes everything car-related – from truck wheels, tires, and other car parts to oil containers, repair & maintenance services, and actual bulletproof trucks.
Electronics & Communication takes the second place. Our teammates’ friends asked for power generators, Starlink terminals, laptops, tablets, radio sets, antennas and cables, among other devices, to ensure uninterrupted communication.
No less important are combat uniforms with bulletproof helmets and vests, surveillance drones, and outdoor survival kits with tools like axes, shovels, and iron pots.
Supported causes by gender
Now let’s see how the causes were distributed between men and women. Among the top three causes chosen by men are military equipment, vehicles and petrol, and miscellaneous tools for outdoor activities or construction.
Women, on the other hand, were leaders in supporting medical causes and purchasing electronic gadgets, including drones.
It is worth noting that military training was financed only by men, whereas humanitarian causes and pet shelter support – only by women.
Military vs non-military causes
Here in Ukraine, people understand that while humanitarian causes are important, we first need to eliminate the root cause of our hardships by defeating the aggressor and pushing them beyond our country’s border. This is hardly feasible without a strong army.
We also know that if it weren’t for our brave and selfless defenders, we wouldn’t be able to continue working or perhaps even see another day, and the casualties would be much higher. That’s why Ukrainians tend to prioritize military causes over everything else.
Donations by recipient
The core idea behind the Redwerk for Ukraine initiative was that employees could use Redwerk’s donation money to support someone they know.
At the same time, we didn’t want to impose too many rules, so making an unaffiliated donation to the cause of one’s choice was also an option.
Considering the fact that 70% of the participants used the money to support their loved ones or acquaintances directly, we believe the initiative achieved its purpose.
What nonprofits were chosen
Another goal of the Redwerk for Ukraine initiative was to diversify our assistance and help as many nonprofits as possible.
All of the nonprofit donations were sent to different organizations, so each of these received just one donation.
According to this chart, medical projects are some of the most popular among nonprofits: four organizations collected money for them. In second place are fundraisers for trucks, car parts, and petrol: three nonprofits took care of that. Two nonprofits simultaneously collected money for drones, indicating that drone requests are quite common.
On the other hand, smaller items like hand tools and outdoor survival kits, in our case, were exclusively handled by volunteers.
Here are the links to the mentioned nonprofits, so make sure to check them out:
- Pekelna Kuhnya Kharkiv
- Plich_o_plich Dnipro
- Together We Can
- Sprava Hromad
- Valerii Markus Foundation
- Smile Charity Fund
- Ukrainian Volunteer Service
- Serhiy Prytula Foundation
- Motohelp Kyiv
- People’s Project
Redwerkers Donation Stories
Redwerkers are unanimous in that donations are essential for our victory and society development, yet each of them has a unique story to tell. Curious what reasons prompted them to participate and get out of their comfort zone? Read on to find out!
What do developers say?
Developers make up 27.5% of the initiative supporters, and they donated to various causes. Here are the charities they sponsored:
As we see, 91% of donations aimed at supporting military efforts, whereas 9% were devoted to animal protection.
“I received 25K hryvnias from Redwerk simply by filling out the form. Then I contacted my friend from the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He had a chat with his commander, and they informed me they needed truck tires. I purchased the tires online with the delivery right to their destination. As easy as that!
Grateful to the company for the trust and ability to help out my friend,”
“I’d like to thank Redwerk for such an excellent initiative and ability to help friends. Due to minimal bureaucracy and prompt response, we managed to buy two combat helmets for our scouts. They are being shipped from Poland, and we can’t wait to share a photo report,”
“To make an army invincible, one needs not only skills, motivation, and the right equipment but also support from ordinary people: volunteers, nonprofits, and charitable funds.
I decided to support a local gov organization facilitating military defense efforts. The donated money will be spent on firearms training, which I believe is useful both for rookies and seasoned shooters and increases our defenders’ chance of survival, ”
“We must use any means possible during these trying times to draw near our victory. But even more important is saving the lives of our defenders. For this reason, I donated money to the Together We Can nonprofit – they’re raising money for tourniquets,”
“I had a chance to help @priiut_best_friends shelter. They suffered shelling and are in dire need of our support. The allocated sum was enough to buy vaccine for 140 pets, ”
What do QA engineers say?
QA engineers account for 30% of the participants. The supported causes are similar to that of developers’. Here is how they distributed their donations:
Compared to developers, QA engineers exclusively supported military causes and focused more on ensuring our defenders have means of transportation.
“It’s heart-warming that thanks to this initiative, I was able to purchase a set of bulletproof plates for my dear person, now serving in an airborne-assault company of Ukraine.
Let’s help our defenders together, using any means possible because that’s the only way for us to resist and win,”
“I used the opportunity to donate to the Ukrainian Military Support Fund “Together for Victory.” I chose it because the fund works directly with the military unit where a friend of mine serves,”
“A terrifying war came into Ukrainian homes – thousands of wounded, killed, or tortured military, civilians, and children… We should shout out loud about this genocide of the Ukrainian nation as much as we can for the world to hear us.
Supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine is now the primary duty of every conscious Ukrainian who strives to defeat this russian evil. I’m glad I could help the Air Intelligence Squad in Zaporizhia, where our teammate is serving,”
“In the summer of 2020, I decided to complete a pre-medical aid course. This is how I got to know the founder of @motohelp_kyiv. Pre-war, he worked in the IT sector, but now he is in a hotspot, defending our homeland.
They leverage the speed of motorcycles to quickly transport blood or reach emergency places and provide first aid before an ambulance arrives.
Now they are collecting funds for modern first aid kits. They also provide training before giving them to the military,”
“I wanted to support the defenders of the Kherson direction. I contacted a volunteer working directly with them and purchased all the items he mentioned. I’m very happy that all the equipment is on the way to the frontline because efficiency is paramount during such times. I genuinely miss my hometown and hope to return to it soon,”
“I wish I had the military skills to join our defenders. But the least I can do is to donate, which I do consistently. I do this for my city and thousands of other cities across Ukraine to feel safe and for civilians to continue living peaceful lives.
My friends have recently started a fund – @plich_o_plich.dp and they were collecting money for drones. With the joint effort of Redwerk and other contributors, we managed to close the fundraiser,”
“I sent my donation to a volunteer @tk_ukr working for the safety and well-being of Zaporizhia, my hometown. Together with his crew, he helps secure block posts along the frontline. He also turned his gym into a humanitarian aid center where displaced citizens can get clothes and foodstuffs. They also remember to help those Ukrainians living close to the frontline who either refused or couldn’t leave their homes. Now he is raising money for a military truck,”
What do PMs and HR say?
Project managers represent 10% of the participants while HR specialists make up 12.5%. Both departments know firsthand what role streamlined communication plays in a project’s success. No wonder some contributions aimed to improve battlefield communication. Here is how their donations look like:
“From the first days of the war, I volunteered to the best of my ability. I believe if every person who’s not at the front spares an hour for helping others, we’ll be very powerful.
I’m very happy that Redwerk shares the same values and has been working hard to win new projects, keep everyone employed, and create new job opportunities, which is crucial for our economy and helps to survive through this hell.
I donated to the Hospitallers Medical Battalion. These folks have been saving lives since 2014, the year russia first set foot into our land,”
“Starting from February, my core motivation to continue working was the ability to donate and the desire to keep Ukrainian IT delivery teams functioning.
When I found out about the initiative, I immediately texted my best friend, who now works in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Her battalion protects the northern border. For the funds received, I was able to purchase cables, antennas, and other equipment for them to have uninterrupted communication,”
“I decided to support a friend and a former colleague, a talented developer who’s now protecting the Zaporizhia direction. He is very modest but finally revealed they needed a laptop with a Windows license to set up communication.
Thanks to Redwerk’s initiative, this need was satisfied very quickly. My friend sends greetings and words of gratitude to the entire team,”
“Throughout my years at Redwerk, I’ve arranged various initiatives, from charity fundraisers to New Year parties and trash challenges. With the start of the war, though, supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine became our top priority.
When I first heard about the initiative, I was super thrilled. It is one thing to know that the company you’re working at brings our victory a step closer, but being directly engaged in the entire process is even cooler. I donated my portion of the million to the Medical Aid cause by UNITED24, with the destination to Zaporizhia,”
“I’d like to draw attention to a hospital in Zaporizhia. It is located in a frontline zone on Orichiv road. This hospital treats wounded soldiers 24/7. Every day our brave doctors fight for the lives of our defenders, and this fight is no less important than the one at the front.
With Redwerk’s help, I could support this heroic hospital. I’d also like to thank my teammates who don’t stand aside and act to hasten our victory,”
What do marketers and designers say?
Marketers comprise 15% of the participants whereas designers make up only 5%. Here are the items they purchased:
Most donations were spent on electronic gadgets for the military and humanitarian aid. At the same time, our creatives understand the importance of having proper disguise and a full tank for survival.
“Once I signed up to participate in the charity, I reached out to friends and acquaintances serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It turned out a unit of our close friend exposed to constant shelling lacked a 3kw power generator. They chose the most suitable model for them, and it is already delivered.
Our founder has always set an example for the entire team on how to support charity projects not only with words but with deeds. It warms my heart that I work at a company that arranges fundraisers several times a year,”
“No great battle is won without the support of people staying in the back and working hard to support the military.These are not my words, I’ve heard them from a friend serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He confessed that the confidence in our victory comes from a reliable home front.
So when Redwerk launched the initiative, I joined immediately. I decided to support my acquaintances in the National Guard of Ukraine,”
“Every month I try to donate to satisfy the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I know that my help is just a drop in the ocean, but I do what I can.
I saw a post from my acquaintance about a fundraiser for intelligence drones. These drones will be sent for defenders in Orichiv, the city taking a major hit from the occupiers and shielding the Zaporizhia direction. Zaporizhia is my home, my family and friends still live there, and my best memories are associated with this city. I can’t let occupiers reach it and hope it will remain the way it was pre-war.
Courtesy of Redwerk, one of the drones is already doing its tough job on the battlefield,”
“I donated my portion of the million to @ukrainian_volunteer_service because this nonprofit helps people living in temporarily occupied territories.
I know firsthand how prices have soared over there and how difficult it is to find basic foodstuffs of decent quality or essential goods like medicine. The humanitarian crisis is getting worse with each passing day. Store shelves are either empty or packed with russian stuff.
I’m immensely grateful to all volunteers and the Armed Forces of Ukraine,”
“When I learned that Mykolaiv is the third most shelled city in Ukraine, I knew my donation would go there. Since April, the citizens have been living without a centralized supply of drinking water while it’s a sunny southern city. Imagine having no drinking water during a heat wave and being unable to go to a store because of continuous shelling.
Luckily local volunteers took care of delivering water bottles to Mykolaiv, so my portion of the million was used for Mykolaiv’s drinking water,”
These of course are not all of the quotes. Be sure to use the hashtag #redwerkforukraine on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to see original posts and discover more stories.
Why Make Donations Public
The question of whether giving should be done anonymously or made public has been discussed until now. Some people believe that if you want to do a good deed, there’s no point in shouting about it to the entire world. Like, did you do it out of pure philanthropic intentions or just to gain publicity?
Another argument for anonymous donations is that people who lead highly private lives may feel intimidated about going public or fear unwanted solicitations. While we respect that, we firmly believe donating publicly multiplies one’s contribution manifold, and here is why.
Inspire others. We at Redwerk are no strangers to supporting different kinds of charity initiatives. It all started long before the war and before fundraisers became mainstream among IT companies here in Ukraine. But how did charity initiatives become popular in Ukraine? It is businesses who looked up to their foreign partners or competitors and mimicked their social responsibility policies.
If we look at individual donations, it works the same. Suppose you saw a post from your friend about their contribution to a nonprofit. What would be your first thought? You’d probably want to do the same.
So if you stay silent, how can you possibly inspire others to give? It is by telling a story and sharing our experience that we encourage others to donate.
Nurture a culture of giving. As a business, we’re expected to give back and support the well-being of our society. We’re also expected to be innovators and leaders who set the example for others to follow. But how can you be a role model without an established culture of giving? How can you persuade top talents to be part of your team if there’s no infrastructure for charitable projects?
By participating in or arranging fundraisers, you engrain the importance of giving in the psyche of your teammates. They’ll take that message with them even if they leave the company. You also create a well-balanced corporate culture that focuses not only on KPIs and customer success but on standing true to its values and making a difference.
When your employees turn to teammates for help and self-organize a fundraiser, that’s a good indicator of an established culture of giving. And when half of your team is ready to get out of their comfort zone and make a post on social media to boost exposure and help more people find out about the initiative, that is priceless.
Inform your community. A post is, first of all, a piece of information. Let your community know what nonprofit or volunteer you’ve cooperated with, how it went, and what results you’ve achieved. This serves as social proof and may help those willing to support a smaller nonprofit but fearing fraudsters. Remember to attach a receipt for transparency purposes.
Thanks to the fact that each Redwerker shared about the initiative within their social circle, about 150K people saw our posts in total. That’s way more compared to the reach of our corporate social networks. If each of these people donated as little as a dollar, we’d still be able to collect a decent amount of money.
Be a reminder. It is in human nature to distance ourselves from negativity. Before the invasion and some time after, Ukraine has been all over the news worldwide. As people grow tired of this topic, we see how media outlets have quickly shifted to other narratives. Just look at the LinkedIn Wrap-Up, you’ll find picks about return to offices petitions, burnout prevention, or launching a business after 50, and not a word about the war in Ukraine.
But the war grinds on, and if media publishers are no longer interested in it, we cannot let the world forget about it – innocent people are dying every day. Your donation is a solid reason to make a post about it and draw the attention of your foreign acquaintances or business partners to the situation here in Ukraine. Every voice matters.
Why Work with Ukraine
Ukrainian businesses, IT companies in particular, have shown remarkable resilience and consistency in delivering services regardless of the war. You may wonder, how is this possible?
First of all, Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe. The active hostilities are now happening in the east and south of Ukraine, meaning other areas are relatively safe. Of course, daily air raid alerts disrupt our days, but with flexible scheduling and remote work, there’s plenty of time to finish your work.
Secondly, the war doesn’t leave us much choice. We want to free our land from occupiers, and that’s hardly feasible without a functioning economy. People with jobs are motivated to continue working not only to sustain their living but also to be able to donate and support our defenders.
Last but certainly not least, Ukraine is our homeland and we see our future in a sovereign, democratic, and peaceful Ukraine, which gives us the strength to continue working, stay motivated, donate, and encourage others to follow suit.
So if you’re thinking of a meaningful and highly impactful way to support Ukrainian people, consider using products and services by Ukrainian vendors. Not only will you satisfy your need but also help strengthen a business that directly supports local communities.
And of course, if you did hire a Ukrainian service provider, don’t hesitate to mention it on social media. Encourage others to join the trend.
We thank our teammates and foreign partners who made this possible!