“With Salesforce driving greater efficiency, we have more resources to spend on helping vulnerable people in hard-to-reach regions.” - Mark-Jan Bremmer, Head of Marketing and Communications, MAF Netherlands

MAF Netherlands is flying high with Salesforce

For many people in the developed world, life has never been easier. Want something to eat? Take your pick from the shops nearby. Need medical help? Dial emergency services. With digitisation and transport infrastructure shrinking borders, it seems almost unthinkable that there are still places in the world that are difficult to reach. But when a small boy in a rural village of the Democratic Republic of Congo broke his leg playing football, there was no one to call. And with only 50% of mothers giving birth with medical assistance in Papua New Guinea, one in 20 new mothers don’t get the chance to meet their new born baby.

In 1946, following the devastation of the Second World War, Christian pilots wanting to use their planes for good founded the Mission Aviation Fellowship – or MAF. Now, from airfields in 30 countries, a plane from the 130-strong fleet takes off every five minutes, delivering medical equipment and food, and providing emergency transport to people in hard to reach areas.

As Mark-Jan Bremmer, Head of Marketing and Communications for MAF Netherlands explained, “Pilots flying during the war learned how to react in an emergency. By keeping that knowledge alive, we can help people who are isolated by difficult terrains or conflicts, or in response to a natural disaster.”

Ready for take-off

MAF Netherlands works alongside 1,500 organisations to deliver aid and spread the Christian message to communities across the world. It has over 200 pilots to ensure there is always someone rested and ready to take off, and runs on donations from the church, businesses, and many individual supporters.

To keep planes flying, MAF Netherlands needs to be highly organised and to maximise resources. As Bremmer said, “There’s no shortage of people needing our help, but we’re limited by the number of pilots, volunteers, and funds we receive. Growing support in Holland so we can reach more people is a priority for us, but we also need to make sure we’re running as efficiently as possible.”

A platform for transformation

The organisation was running on a volunteer-developed CRM system, but with limited flexibility and issues integrating with other systems, MAF Netherlands decided to invest in a platform to support its digital evolution and help it improve processes.

In June 2016, MAF Netherlands introduced Salesforce. “We needed a platform that integrated with our website and book keeping system,” said Bremmer. “Salesforce now supports our webshop and donor community, mijn.MAF.nl.”

A self-serve community

The community, underpinned by Community Cloud, allows donors to log in and update personal details, choose which mailing lists they’re on and see their donation and purchase history. “Community Cloud makes life easier for donors, and reduces support calls for us,” commented Bremmer. “We tried integrating our website with our old CRM system but it was buggy and unstable. We didn’t have much functionality either, but with Salesforce we can just connect up our data and off we go!”

MAF Netherland’s pilots and their Home Front Committee also have a support community based on Salesforce, where they can download documents, see how much money has been raised, and talk to members of the team.

Looking after the pennies

“Tracking funds in Salesforce saves us a lot of time,” said Bremmer. “It helps the finance team to keep on top of things, but it also means we can pull detailed reports. Previously we did this manually on request, which took a lot of time. Now we can do it in seconds.”

Salesforce also helps to streamline web shop orders. When an order is placed, it goes to the admin team who assign a volunteer to pick and pack the order. The payment is then automatically processed in Salesforce, removing the need for human input for simple transactions.

Seamless customer service

At the front line of MAF Netherlands’ operations, the reception staff use Service Cloud to drive better customer interactions. “When the phone rings, the contact details pop up on screen and we can see if it’s someone we already know,” explained Bremmer. “Using Salesforce as our central platform, we can then create a case in Service Cloud and route the call to the appropriate department. It makes us more efficient and provides a better call experience for the customer.”

Happy, more productive users

This single source of the truth helps the team collaborate better across departments, and they also use Chatter for internal communications to cut down on the number of emails sent. By working more efficiently, the organisation has freed staff up from manual processes to focus on more valuable tasks. “I’ve had people come to me and say that now their jobs have become much less demanding, they want to take on more responsibility as we evolve. Salesforce has brought about a cultural shift where we’re more self-motivated,” said Bremmer.

The next steps

With Salesfoce already delivering efficiency improvements, the organisation has been able to cope with increasing numbers of donors and is now thinking about other areas it could transform with the platform. “We’re running a pilot to use Salesforce for event management – every month we put on events for donors at the airfield, with flights, food, and fun! We’re hoping they’ll be able to book spots on flights through Salesforce, and we can track the attendees to get to know them better,” explained Bremmer.

MAF Netherlands also has plans to explore the customer journey, including smarter marketing campaigns and nurturing the relationship it has with existing donors. It is one of three MAF regions currently using Salesforce, with the remaining seven due to come onboard in the future. By pioneering its services, the whole organisation could soon benefit from MAF Netherlands’ Salesforce journey.

“At the end of the day, what we love most about Salesforce is that the platform supports our current needs and future dreams. But the support from the team has also been invaluable. Despite being a leading global company, I feel like the team cares that we get the most from the product and they’ll help us adapt the solution to truly support our needs,” concluded Bremmer. “There will always be more people needing our help, with Salesforce helping us to be more efficient, we might just be able to reach more of them.”

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