How the Australian Red Cross is using tech to handle COVID-19 fallout

MyRedCross app to give clients, volunteers and donors a holistic view of their interactions.

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Australian Red Cross

2020 has been a busy time for Australian Red Cross staff and volunteers as they respond to the dual challenges of providing aid to communities affected by COVID-19 and from some of the country’s worst bushfires on record.

For around 12 months, the charity's technology and customer experience teams have been using agile methodologies to create digital services for donors, volunteers and clients. This has been particularly useful during these trying times with the flagship piece of its digital strategy, the MyRedCross online service portal, due for launch in August.

MyRedCross connects data from several core systems and third party platforms to initially give 1,800 people at 130 sites - many who are now working from home - a holistic view of 75,000 regular donors. It will soon be extended to the remaining clients, donors, supporters and volunteers.

The organisation used the Boomi platform to integrate its EpiServer, PivotalCRM, Okta identity management, InTech address validation, and Campaign Monitor marketing automation systems to ensure consistent data.

Speaking to CIO Australia, chief information officer, Veronica Frost, said people can have multiple interactions with the organisation, perhaps starting as a client who needs support through a tough time before becoming a volunteer, donor or a staff member.

“We want people to have one relationship with the Red Cross and that’s where MyRedCross comes in. We want a platform where you can see what your interactions have been, choose how you would like to engage with us. We want people to understand the impact that they have had,” Frost explained.

“For us, it’s also about having a better understanding of people that do interact with us; how they want to engage and how they want us to communicate with them. For instance, right now they may get all sorts of different mail from us that is not really targeted at what they are interested in.”

In future the Red Cross wants people to be able to choose what they want to hear from the organisation. This helps determine where funds should be allocated and the types of services that need to be delivered to the community.

“We need to maximise every dollar we make so the platform is going to help us remove all of those manual processes we have at the moment," Frost noted. "We do have disparate systems, we have our internal core systems but also fundraising systems that sit outside of our core platform.

"We need to make sure that we integrate those data sets and make sure those datasets are clean because as a person, you’re interacting with Red Cross, you’re not interacting with different datasets,” she said.

Frost added that MyRedCross will be extended to volunteers to automate what is a quite manual client onboarding process that involves multiple steps.

“It will offer a single pane, they will be able to see where they are up to in their recruitment process,” she said.

“If we can reduce the operational cost of [taking] donations or onboarding volunteers, that money can be redirected to the community where it is needed most.”

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