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Since 2009, Het Vergeten Kind (The Forgotten Child) has helped vulnerable children and young people in The Netherlands feel heard, seen, and safe by providing a safe and stable place where they can develop positively. The nonprofit supports children who are abused, traumatized, and forgotten by drawing public and political attention to their plight through campaigns for structural improvements. It also organizes special activities where the children they help can feel like "ordinary" kids.
During the COVID crisis, the foundation's work garnered wider public acclaim as it worked even harder to help vulnerable children, many of whose situations had worsened since they were isolated at home.
For this reason, the foundation was chosen as the spotlight and recipient of the 3FM Serious Request annual fundraiser. Since the announcement in September, more than 400 marketing initiatives have been launched, with the campaign culminating in December 2022. For the week before Christmas, 3FM DJs will play requests for money 24 hours a day from the Glazen Huis (Glass House) in Amersfoort to raise funds for The Forgotten Child, so the foundation can continue to do its important work of bringing light to the lives of 100,000 forgotten children.
Capable of Handling Big Surges in Activity
As the chosen recipient of 3FM Serious Requests' annual, multi-day, multimedia fundraising extravaganza, The Forgotten Child Foundation could potentially receive millions of hits — and donations — in a day. To handle this kind of heavy web traffic and process transactions and donor information for future "buyer's journeys," it needed a fully capable, dynamic, and modern system. Fortunately, this wasn't a problem since the forward-thinking foundation had put this into place years earlier by implementing Salesforce, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Google Workspace.
"The load on the website, the system behind it (Salesforce), and the donation software will be incredibly high that week, explained Jurgen Peters, a senior Salesforce consultant and partner at Xebia. "The foundation expects 10 to 20,000 visitors to the website per hour, and we expect 2,000 people per minute to be clicking on the donate button. Those donations have to be handled fast because if people have to wait for more than 10 seconds for a certain page to come on the screen, they'll quit and say, 'I'll do it later,' and then forget to come back," he added.
Prepared for Unforeseeable Occurrences Since 2016
Luckily, the existing infrastructure in Salesforce was already in place. "Everybody talks about the digital journey, the digital transformation, and the move to the cloud," explained Peters, "but the Forgotten Child already initiated that by working with us back in 2016. We actually prepared them for this moment years ago. We didn't know that at the time, but if they were not working with this Cloud and Salesforce, they would probably still be working with an old system or Excel, and they would not have been able to handle this huge challenge or facilitate it."
Because the 3FM campaign would put a huge workload on its existing website and Salesforce integration, The Forgotten child reached out for assistance to ensure it was completely prepared to handle the major publicity and fundraising opportunity.
Optimizing and Testing Thoroughly
The team went into Salesforce and checked everything by doing dozens of tests with web agency Trybes. For example, what if 500 donations are sent at one time? What about a thousand or two thousand? Trybes also created new forms for 3FM since the fundraising campaign itself would run the calls and ultimately own the data, even though The Forgotten Child would receive the donations and data. Since the Forgotten Child also had Salesforce Marketing Cloud, an advanced marketing machine, in place, donors would be automatically enrolled in a buyer's journey, even if they only donated 1 euro.
Lex Dekker, the Salesforce squad lead at Xebia explained: "When someone gives a one-time donation, it triggers a customer journey with the ultimate goal of making them a recurring donor: That's a person who's very passionate about the cause, who donates on a regular basis, and who wants to follow up with the stories of the children that are being helped. By implementing Salesforce, not only for their CRM but also for marketing, the Forgotten Child Foundation was set up for success from the start."
To the Next Level
"A lot of organizations use Salesforce, even small nonprofits, but Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud — that's another ballgame," explained Peters. "It's really a high-end product, something Spotify and Amazon are using, so having this big product in place can really help the Forgotten Child get to the next level," he added.
Because the foundation has already automated a big part of its CRM and fundraising, it has more capacity to do the actual things that it's there for and can have more focus on its core business — helping children.