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August 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 3
CRM, BPO & Teleservices

CRM That Makes a Difference: Convio Helps Komen In Fight Against Breast Cancer

By Brendan B. Read
Senior Contributing Editor, Customer Interaction Solutions

Employing the right customer, or for nonprofits constituent relationship management (CRM) solution can make a big difference not only in organizations' bottom lines but also in peoples' lives.

These applications permit enterprises: businesses and nonprofits alike to improve service, streamline operations, retain and build relationships with customers and donors, and generate cost savings whose freed-up resources can help expand their missions.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists that are fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all, and energize science to find the cures.

Komen for the Cure is also the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, which is being replenished thanks to events such as the Komen Race for the Cure, with nearly $1 billion being invested in the battle. Founder Nancy G. Brinker entered the fray in 1982 when she promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever, and launched the global breast cancer movement.

The foe is dangerous, deadly, and everywhere, whose terror has been felt by nearly all of us both directly as victims and indirectly as their loved ones.

Breast cancer is the second most common type of this disease in US women reports the American Cancer Society. Over 182, 000 females are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. Breast cancer is also the second biggest killer of this disease type in women, with nearly 41,000 deaths projected by year end.

Breast cancer knows no gender boundaries. Nearly 2,000 men will become afflicted with it in 2008 and 450 others will die from the disease.

Such a major battle with massive numbers of lives at stake requires efficient resource mobilization. To that end Komen for the Cure has turned to Convio's integrated suite of software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM applications to more effectively communicate with and empower constituents, raise funds, influence public policy and support its mission.

Komen is standardizing on Convio's solution for fundraising, advocacy, event fundraising, e-commerce, Web content management and e-mail communication. It will replace existing donor databases throughout the organization, representing almost every donor database vendor in the marketplace.

The product, code-named Aikido, and which has been built on Salesforce.com's Force.com platform and designed specifically for nonprofits, tracks all constituent interactions across multiple channels, online and offline.

Komen will be deploying the Convio applications at its global headquarters and at all 125 of the organization's affiliates, which are located in the US and in other countries. Rollout is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

Komen has a team of relationship managers who are responsible for assisting the affiliates. They will use Convio's Common Ground application, also powered by Salesforce.com, to help them track service issues and share best practices across the organization. Approximately 500 Salesforce.com licenses will be deployed across Komen in order to capture all constituent interactions regardless of the channel in which they occur.

This move to Convio, which specializes in offering hosted CRM solutions to nonprofits, will enable Komen to better leverage and more efficiently integrate offline and online campaigns and programs to build stronger relationships and interactions with constituents.

Equally if not more importantly Komen may also experience more than $1.7 million in annual savings, based Forrester Research on Salesforce.com in the for-profit market. That is money that will go into research to find a cure for breast cancer and into education to help women, and men, detect the deadly disease early so they do not have to suffer and die from it.

"Standardizing on Convio and the SaaS model [will enable offline and online program integration] that will provide us with incredible insight into our organization's most important constituent information, regardless of the channel in which the interaction occurs," says Justin Ricketts, vice president of information technology, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "It also will provide us with access to new and emerging technologies that empower people anytime, anywhere to be more active and engaged in our promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever."

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