Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan
"Participants in our Relay For Life event raised 225% more with the engagement journey powered by Salesforce." - Catherine Moore, Senior Director of Strategic Engagement & Platform Development, Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan

Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan Builds Lasting Constituent Relationships with 1-to-1 Engagement

The Canadian Cancer Society has an ambitious vision: to create a world where no Canadian fears cancer. In pursuit of this mission, they organize and fund a number of programs focused on preventing cancer, research on all aspects of cancer, information for people who need it, and of course support for people who are diagnosed.

As a national, community-based organization of 10,000 volunteers and close to 300,000 supporters in the province of Saskatchewan alone, constituent engagement is critical to the their success. Over the past few years, the staff of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Saskatchewan chapter began to see declining revenues from their signature fundraising event, Relay For Life. They had also heard reports that donors and volunteers were unhappy with the event’s planning and recruitment processes. But they had no way to turn this feedback into an actionable engagement strategy.

“We really wanted to emphasize the quality of the relationships with participants, volunteers, donors and cancer survivors to reach more people with our support programs as well as increasing our funding,” says Andrew Caswell, Associate Executive Director.

First, the Society’s team used Salesforce to bring all of their constituent data together in one place. “Having all of that rich information about our past and current participants, volunteers and cancer survivors in one CRM was a big step. But what is even more powerful is how Salesforce enables us to act on that data to build real, engaging, genuine relationships with our constituents,” says Catherine Moore, Senior Director of Strategic Engagement & Platform Development. In under 5 weeks, the Society was able to deploy a next-generation, omni-channel engagement centre, powered by Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud, that gives their staff the power to turn rich constituent data into targeted constituent engagement.

In 2014, the Society managed their Relay for Life event on Salesforce for the first time. They designed “constituent journeys” to engage participants at every stage, from recruitment, registration and setting up a personalized fundraising page, all the way to the day of the event and beyond. At each step in the journey, participants receive automated emails that remind them of important dates, congratulate them on a fundraising milestone, and enable them to recruit other participants and funders.

Leading up to the event, the Society’s staff made outbound calls to participants from the engagement centre. With Service Cloud, these calls were both more personal and more efficient than ever. “Our reps can see everything they need to know about a Relay for Life participant on one screen before they call: who they are, if they’ve participated before, how much money they’ve raised so far, if they’ve set up their fundraising page, how many fundraising emails they’ve sent, and what connection they have to cancer and our cause,” says Amanda Bruce, Manager of Platform Development.

Unlike the previous few years, this Salesforce-powered Relay For Life was a huge success. “The engagement journey got participants more involved than ever before. They sent an average of 5 times more emails asking friends and family to donate. And the average participant raised 225% more money than before,” Moore says.

Participants were much more engaged overall, with zero-dollar fundraisers – who are usually a drain on precious resources – reduced by 10%. Even after the race was over, the team kept the engagement going. “Our participants are so grateful when we follow up after the event to inform them of the impact of their hard work and also to invite them to prevention and awareness events in their area,” Bruce says, “this helps participants become ambassadors in their communities, and has caused registration and participation at local events to increase up to 500%.”

Today’s constituents want to feel connected to your organization’s mission. With Salesforce, the Society has the tools to engage supporters on a personal level, as they work together to fight cancer. As Moore says, “In order to be relevant moving forward, every nonprofit needs the tools to build genuine, one-on-one relationships.”

The Canadian Cancer Society worked with Heller Consulting, a Salesforce.org Strategic Partner, to build and customize this solution.

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