Success story Direct Relief

Combating influenza outbreak with Facebook Crisis Response


Direct Relief works to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilising and providing essential medical resources needed for their care.

Success story

“After Hurricane Maria, flu vaccination rates were lower than they’ve ever been. With Facebook tools, we quickly reached a large portion of the population to activate supporters and raise awareness. Facebook’s reach provided the domino effect that truly amplified the success of our efforts far beyond our own community channels.” – Direct Relief

“A year-round flu season, combined with the damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico’s vaccine inventories, has left the island’s population severely vulnerable to influenza and other conditions. Immediate action through immunisation is needed to protect the lives and health of the population.”

– Lilliam Rodríguez, president and founder of VOCES Puerto Rico

Direct Relief collaborated with the Puerto Rico Department of Health, CDC Foundation and VOCES Puerto Rico to launch an island-wide vaccination effort.

“We’ve found that the most efficient way to activate large audiences in times of crisis is using the Social Good tools that Facebook has created to make it easier for charities and supporters to join forces and make an impact.”

– Direct Relief


Direct Relief posted information about their services on Facebook Crisis Response in conjunction with Facebook posts, live video, and Messenger to amplify the event to people across the island.


Reached on Direct Relief’s Facebook Page and the Community Help Page for Hurricane Maria


Reached with the Facebook Live event on Direct Relief’s Facebook Page


Reached on Direct Relief’s Facebook Page

Campaign goals

Provide vaccinations free of charge to all citizens in Puerto Rico “Our community values knowing exactly where their donations are going in times of crisis. With Facebook, every dollar raised goes directly to the cause.”


Leveraging momentum from influencers and public figures

  • The team used the momentum of an online influencer with 30 million followers and music artist Chance the Rapper to drive traffic towards Direct
  • Relief via Facebook Live + donate events. Together, the events raised more than USD 118,000 on Facebook for Hurricane Maria.
  • Direct Relief saw a 4,170 per cent increase in total Facebook donations for Puerto Rico between the two days before the online influencer went live and the two days after.
Campaign lessons
  1. Post on Facebook Crisis Response. To most effectively reach the community directly affected by a crisis, post information about your offers and services on Facebook Crisis Pages.
  2. Key takeaway. Getting a public figure or online influencer involved in your efforts can have a tremendous impact on results.