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War Child UK

War Child scales up to support more families living in conflict zones with smarter processes, richer insights, and greater collaboration
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War Child reaches more children in conflict zones with Salesforce.

When war breaks out, the world takes notice. But when the news teams head home and the cameras stop rolling, it’s the local people that are left to pick up the pieces. War Child helps families and children who are traumatised and displaced to get their lives back on track.

“When you pull a child out of the pile of rubble that used to be their home, that’s not the end of their story. It’s just the beginning,” said Rob Williams, CEO of War Child. “We reunite families, offer psychosocial support, and help to get children back to school. We want to give them some faith in the future by bringing some stability to their lives.”

Blazing a trail to grow its resources and reach.

With 32 million displaced children in the world, War Child needs to keep growing and increase funding to expand its reach.

War Child UK logo

“If we grow too big too fast, we risk becoming unstable,” said Williams. “Salesforce brings us the stability we need to keep expanding while also increasing efficiency.”

What started as a CRM solution in 2012 has become an end-to-end business platform supporting all departments – from fundraising and programme management to marketing and finance. “We worked with a great partner who helped us develop bespoke systems for storing donor data, recording programme history and classifying income, which has freed up our team from manual processes,” said Katie Johnson, Head of Individual Giving. “After a year, we had the confidence to go solo and have been customising the Nonprofit Success Pack to work for us ever since.” And with great results. Between 2012 and 2017, War Child quadrupled its budget to £17 million and increased the number of people it assisted from 28,000 to 160,000.

“With smarter processes and richer data, we can now make every £1 that we raise goes further,” said Johnson. “Salesforce has helped us maximise our resources so we can reach more people in need.”

One hub supporting multiple processes.

Richer data also means richer reports and insights. “With real time data, every member of the team can pull more meaningful reports,” explained Ian McCarthy, Salesforce CRM Manager for War Child. “This helps us keep track of how we’re doing and what needs improving.”

Tracking the impact of individual donations on children’s lives.

A key focus area for the War Child team is to boost its sustainable income through a larger monthly donor base. With every supporter interaction tracked on Salesforce, everyone on the fundraising team can contribute to building stronger relationships. When an existing donor hits their first year anniversary, an alert in Salesforce prompts the fundraising team to send a handwritten card expressing their thanks.

The team can now be more specific about how an individual supporter’s donations have been spent – an increasingly important capability in the charitable sector. “With Salesforce, we can be more transparent about how funds have been allocated,” said Johnson. “Our head office team works closely with our local programme managers to measure the impact of fundraising on children’s lives.”

Simplifying information and financial management.

With a goal to reach 260,000 children by 2019, War Child needs to ensure it can scale to manage more programmes, supporters, and donations. “With Salesforce, we don’t waste time and money on repeated manual data entry, we can focus our resources on more valuable tasks and future plans,” said Gathercole.

And McCarthy already has plenty of ideas to help War Child achieve its ambitions, as he explained: “We’re going to integrate our finance system with Salesforce, which will automate payment reconciliation and provide an audit trail for donations. As well as making life easier for the finance team, faster processing will get money to our programmes faster.”

Building a sense of community.

“Salesforce gives us the fluidity to react quickly: if a donor has an enquiry, we won’t have to keep them waiting or pass them around to different people to find the answer.”

War Child has already created strong internal communities using Chatter. “It makes sharing information between colleagues in different locations a lot easier,” revealed Gathercole. “We can also run polls to help evaluate if a process is working or not.”

And community is important to War Child – whether it involves its supporters, team members, partners, or other charities. “We love the way that Salesforce has supported our vision from day one; it’s introduced us to a whole network of other NGOs” said Williams.

“In our sector, blazing a trail is not about beating the competition; it’s about sharing knowledge to enable other organisations to help more people in the world enjoy better lives. With Salesforce, we can tap into a wealth of knowledge and new opportunities.”