Fund-Raising on the Fast Track

By Osman Mazhar Print this article Print

When the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society upgraded its fund-raising systems and infrastructure, it experienced a tremendous boost in both site performance and user satisfaction.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which depends on donations to fund its research, was experiencing a major shift in its fund-raising volume from offline to online channels. That put a strain on the organization’s existing fund-raising systems and infrastructure, prompting LLS to look for an alternative.

Osman Mazhar, chief architect for the society, played a key role in transforming the IT systems from one-off applications to a common services-based architecture. He architected a state-of-the-art online fund-raising system that was built in-house. It included a rich user interface and a series of front-end applications that would allow program participants to register themselves and manage their own fund-raising. On the back end, IT created a set of reusable services to feed the front-end interface.

As the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, headquartered in White Plains, NY., aims to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, as well as improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $600 million in research alone.

To achieve our goals, we depend on donations, both large and small, and over the years, we’ve developed a number of creative ways to raise money, particularly through event-oriented fund-raising. Programs such as Team in Training, Light the Night and the Leukemia Cup Regatta are among our most successful events.

Our flagship program, Team in Training, is responsible for raising more than $850 million since its beginning in 1988. The program, which offers amateur endurance athletes personalized fitness training in exchange for their individual fund-raising efforts, has grown to become the largest sports-endurance training program in the world.

During the past several years, thanks to promotion and word of mouth, we’ve seen a real spike in participation for Team in Training. Simultaneously, there’s been a massive shift of fund-raising volume from offline to online channels, mainly because of improvements in e-commerce and fund-raising technology. These two trends merged and put a real strain on our existing fund-raising systems and infrastructure, prompting us to look for an alternative.

This article was originally published on 2009-04-10
Osman Mazhar is chief architect for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
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