Making Donations Go Further: GOSH Charity Finance Chief Reveals All

By Salesforce.org | June 12, 2018 | Customer Stories, Nonprofit Technology, The Nonprofit Digital Marketer

Every organisation wants to do more for less. For Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Charity, maximising its resources doesn’t just increase efficiency; it increases the number of children and families that it can support. We talked to Ian Chivers, Director of Finance and Operations, about how the charity is using digital, social, and mobile technologies to work and fundraise smarter.

Tell us more about the work of Great Ormond Street Hospital

We raise around £100 million a year to support the pioneering work of Europe’s leading children’s hospital. Our grants provide much-needed funding for hospital redevelopment, medical equipment, research programmes, and family support. We have a number of income sources, including major donors, corporate supporters, regular givers, community fundraisers, special events, tribute funds and legacies. If any of these income sources misses its annual target, then critical services at GOSH could be impacted.

How do you connect with your supporters?

We have more than 1.5 million supporters around the world, so we have to be open to using different engagement channels. Storytelling is a trend that we are really passionate about as a charity – and the more stories we can share about the hospital, the more supporters we can inspire. Digital channels are enabling us to provide a much richer experience – it’s also more trackable, targeted, agile and cheaper than producing a traditional mail drop. We want as much money as possible to be directed towards hospital grants, not spent on administration.

How important is social media?

Effective fundraising involves building networks around causes and families – and social media makes that much easier. We have around 250,000 Facebook fans and 80,000 Twitter followers, who are highly engaged and passionate about the cause. To further inspire them, we create compelling content. With Marketing Cloud, we’ll be able to empower more of our people to create more content while still having a central quality control point. But you need more than just high volumes to ensure great results. With Marketing Cloud, we can analyse the success of different campaigns and content, track interactions on our own social media channels and brand mentions across the web, allowing us to better tailor future communications as well as respond in real time to our online community.

And what about mobile?

More than half of visitors to GOSH.org use a mobile device, and we need to take advantage of this trend. We’ve already developed an Apple Pay app using Heroku, which enables supporters to donate in a matter of seconds. It took just three weeks to develop the app, which has ‘burstable’ capacity so we can respond to peaks in demand.

How do these innovations impact efficiency?

Every new business initiative or process improvement links back to the same objective: helping Great Ormond Street Hospital to cure and treat as many children as possible. By using digital, social, and mobile technologies, we can make it easier for our supporters to engage with us, and easier for our staff to manage donations, relationships, and events. I’ll give you an example: our grants shopping list used to be managed via email inboxes and spreadsheets. We’ve now streamlined this process, which means an item on the shopping list can be added to a supporter’s fundraising record and tracked as donations are received. It’s enabled us to cut administration on this process by 50%.

That’s a great example. Are there other efficiency gains that you could tell us about?

We’ve also freed up a lot of staff time by digitalising our reports. Major donor fundraising accounts for around 35% of our annual income; it used to take five hours to pull together information on this revenue stream. Now all the data is available 24×7 via a dashboard. By taking a digital approach to reporting, we can also dive into the world of analytics. For the first time, we now have a real-time single view of how much money is being raised from different sources and immediate access and transparency to the individual projects and donations driving the overall results. This will unlock new insights that help the team prioritise campaigns, improve supporter stewardship and maximise fundraising.

For the GOSH charity, embracing new engagement channels and digital processes has enabled a step-change in visibility and efficiency. This will not only benefit the organisation but also the 300,000 children that are cared for by the hospital every year. Find out more about how the charity has re-engineered its business to help make every pound go further.