Over the past five years my partner and I have worked with two specific Not-for-Profit charities, The Miracle Babies Foundation and The Sujit Kumar Happy Home Trust. These two organisations provide varying services to the community, one here in Australia and the other in Fiji.
When my partner and I got involved, their needs were quite different. I thought I’d explore those here and share a little of the journey we went through with each of them.
The Miracle Babies Foundation
I first met Melinda Cruz, Founder & CEO, through my previous place of employment. Our CEO met Melinda at a CEO breakfast event where she shared the frustration they’d been through with a CRM provider and the complete disaster their implementation had been. So much so, they were taking legal action against the CRM provider to try and claw back some of the money they’d lost as part of the project.
A Couple of Possible Solutions
One initial idea was to divide off a portion of our Oracle CRM On Demand system and provide access to the team at the foundation. As we looked further at this, it was doable, but not really the ideal outcome for both organisations.
My partner was working with a salesforce.com business partner at this stage and made us aware of the Salesforce Foundation. Part of salesforce.com focused on supporting the Not-for-Profit sector. Their program provided up to 10 free end-user licenses for a registered charity and gave them access to a modern, cloud based CRM system.
With support from my previous employer in the way of time during business hours, my partner and I went about the process to secure access to Salesforce for Melinda and her team. We gathered requirements and started the configuration process. To my surprise, I was able to support the build stage of the CRM. I’m a Marketing Technologist, not a Solution Architect like my partner.
Within a couple of months we had the CRM in a place where it could add value to the Foundation and they finally had a place where they could capture details of their donors, volunteers and others. Since then, the good people at BankWest have also provided their time to support the Foundation further as they’ve enhanced Salesforce to support the Foundation.
This past week we raised in excess of $800
We held our Christmas party for work this past week and my current CEO decided we needed to support the Not-for-Profit industry as part of our Christmas Party. We decided that for each person that RSVP’s and attended our party we would donate $10 to two charities we’d selected.
The Miracle Babies Foundation was an obvious suggestion from me and our CEO had personal involvement with the Humpty Dumpty Foundation. Along with the money we raised, our customers and partners added almost $300 in cash on the night. A great outcome for everyone involved.
It was great to have Melinda Cruz join us at the event. She met and networked with a number of our guests and discovered there were people in attendance who had personally been touched with the work of the Miracle Babies Foundation. Some of our guests also put their hand up to volunteer, which you can imagine was well received.
The Sujit Kumar Happy Home Trust
In 2012, my partner and I were watching the evening news and saw an article about Sujit Kumar, also known as the “Chicken Boy” from Fiji. Sujit is intellectually handicapped and was essentially abandoned at birth by his family who had little understanding of his condition and no means for care for him.
He was discovered my Elizabeth Clayton, an Australian ex-patriot living in Suva, Fiji. Elizabeth rescued Sujit and began what was to become a life long effort to provide s safe home and rehabilitation for Sujit.
Wanting to provide financial support for Elizabeth and Sujit, we googled her website and came across a poorly designed website with no e-commerce capability. Specifically, there was no functionality to provide an online donation. A bank account was listed where we could deposit funds on behalf of the Happy Home Trust to an Australian Rotary Club.
We found a way we could help
Besides being a Solution Architect, my partner is also a web designer and developer. In addition, he worked for Blackbaud for a number years who specifically provide technology solutions for the Not-for-Profit industry. You’re starting to realise it’s my partner who is the brains in this relationship!
We approached Elizabeth by email and then had a few Skype chats to introduce ourselves and give her some idea of how we could help. The primary objective was to re-build her website and incorporate an e-commerce capability. One of these was easy, the other only finally took place this past week.
The website rebuild was easy, you can see the website here.
The hard part was the e-commerce functionality, setting up the website to take online donations. The technology was easy, the percieved corruption of the Fijian financial system was the challenge. We wanted to use PayPal, a safe online and secure method to transact donations. However, they had restrictions about how they dealt with any organisations in Fiji and were even tougher with not-for-profit organisations.
This past week we managed to get around this with the support of Westpac who issued the Happy Home with a credit card which PayPal were happy to accept. This means that all online donations are captured by PayPal and paid directly to the Westpac Credit card.
There’s still one glitch, PayPal refuse to accept the Happy Home as a charity which limits the functionality we can access. For example, we can’t provide donors with the ability to choose the amount they want to donate. We have to provide set amounts that people can choose from. It’s not ideal, but at the moment it’s the best we can do within the guidelines imposed by PayPal.