The Cloud Matches the Needs of ‘Be the Match’

Operating a nonprofit organization is rife with challenges. But somewhere between collecting donations and ensuring that they are put to good use lies the difficult, if not overwhelming, task of operating efficiently.

The Be the Match foundation, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), manages the world’s largest bone marrow matching program. For many, it’s a life or death proposition.

“A marrow or umbilical cord transplant is a lifesaving treatment for patients with blood cancers,” explains Kerrie Goughnour, senior digital project specialist for the organization. “The technique can help treat more than 70 different diseases.”

The Minneapolis-based organization has turned to Blackbaud, a provider of cloud-based business services to nonprofits, to build and operate a more efficient framework for fundraising and other activities. “In the past, we had tools and systems in place that weren’t that efficient,” Goughnour explains.

For example, if a family member wanted to partake in a fundraising event and set up a page for a marrow drive, they essentially had to work with a community engagement representative. “The process wasn’t efficient,” she says. “We realized there had to be a better way.”

Launching a Robust Set of Online DIY Capabilities

The organization spent about two years rethinking and redesigning its processes so that it could handle individual do-it-yourself fundraisers and anniversaries online. Using the cloud software, Be the Match launched a robust set of online DIY capabilities in early 2014.

The foundation also redesigned the website and various processes to incorporate more robust functionality. This includes better and more flexible fundraising tools, improved educational capabilities, social and group functionality, and automated communications.

Users are now able to create specific functions and features on the fly, rather than going through a rep. In addition, the organization is able to stay in closer touch with everyone using the Blackbaud TeamRaiser peer-to-peer fundraising platform and Luminate Online.

Now, “When someone signs up, they receive an email right away thanking them and letting them know other options and possibilities,” Goughnour explains. “We’re able to provide tips, a follow-up message three days later—and again five and 14 days later—with a reminder about setting up email contacts, social media sharing and other features that aid in their fundraising efforts.”

These reengagement emails, which can be customized and personalized, are very effective, she adds.

The high level of integration and automation has helped the organization improve dramatically, according to Goughnour. “Our ROI is off the charts,” she says.

In the end, Be the Match has dramatically reduced its IT administration costs, while creating a more cohesive and integrated business and fundraising framework. Staff at the organization can access data and manage processes anywhere and at any time.

The organization has taken fundraising and constituent relationships to a new and previously unimaginable level. “Today, we have complete assurance that our processes are working efficiently and effectively,” Goughnour reports. “We have a much better view into all of our data, and we know that the data is accurate and actionable.”