BEHIND THE SCENES: CREATING OUR VIRTUAL FUNDRAISERApril 20, 2021
Rising To The Challenge
2020 was a rough year for many businesses and charities. With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading quickly, health guidelines forced many businesses to shut down or change the way they operated with little or no notice. For those that could remain open, the way companies functioned on a normal day-to-day basis looked drastically different in order to function within health guidelines.
Face-to-face fundraising could no longer operate the same way it previously had. At Globalfaces Direct (GFD) we needed to innovate our fundraising offerings to continue to deliver results for our partners. We completely revamped face-to-face fundraising with strict safety measures and launched brand new services that we had never considered before. The new landscape that we were faced with pushed us to look at our industry with fresh eyes. One resulting service we developed was Virtual Fundraiser.
Starting From Scratch
The idea for the Virtual Fundraiser platform came relatively quickly, taking inspiration from the increase in digital fundraising and success of similar platforms in other industries (software, e-commerce). However, building a brand new custom fundraising solution in-house didn’t happen overnight.
Our product development team reviewed five different technologies, and tested three extensively to ensure that the new service would be launched effectively. Critical steps along the way included:
- Creating a map of functionality required
- Drafting a basic layout of the interface (how it would look and feel)
- Working with the development team to tie the video chat feature into our systems
- Creating reporting KPIs to ensure we were delivering great service (queue time, talk time etc.)
- Extensive testing on donor sites, fundraiser sites, various platforms and user loads
- Final tweaks and user interface improvements
Throughout the development process, there were technical challenges to overcome in addition to real world uncertainty: Would the Virtual Fundraiser be successful? Should we be investing the time back into other business units (Face-to-Face, Contact Centre) as restrictions loosened? Would our charity partners see value in the service?
In the end, we were very pleased with the technology we chose, as it tied in seamlessly with our contact centre platform and we are proud of the functionality and experience the end product has been able to deliver for charities and donors alike. We were able to build a platform that offers a great user experience while also integrating seamlessly with donor websites and our contact centre platform, while most importantly delivering real fundraising results for our partners.
Currently Virtual Fundraiser is available 11am to 7pm EDT. As charity partners continue to find success with GFD’s Virtual Fundraiser we will look to expand the hours that we operate so that we can answer calls and chat online with donors throughout a larger daily window of time. Our team potentially could answer calls for charities around the world to support your charity online donations in many countries. Additionally, as more time passes and data is collected, we will be able to analyze the performance of Virtual Fundraiser and continue to evolve the service to deliver even better results for our partners.
As vaccinations continue to roll-out and our world returns to normal, we’re looking forward to further getting back to Face-to-Face fundraising, however this time with a virtual team joining our canvassers and delivering value for our partners in new ways.