The website is our most important channel when it comes to getting donations to Barncancerfonden so we’re really depending on Authority as a partner to help us. Optimizely’s CMS helps to bring a smooth, good experience to our donors on the web. The gala serves as a perfect use case where our partnership truly shines.Martin Bergseth
Barncancerfonden relies on Optimizely CMS for its annual gala and year-round fundraising activities
At a glance
- Efficient, secure and future-proof systems
- Stability maintained during a tenfold surge in donations during annual charity gala
- Consistent client satisfaction ratings averaging 4.6/5.0
- Ability to scale up as needed for gala and other major events
- Quick and streamlined content management
Barncancerfonden is a Swedish not-for-profit charity organization, the ultimate goal of which is to eradicate childhood cancer. Barncancerfonden’s stated mission is to save as many children’s lives as possible and give everyone who is touched by childhood cancer the best life that they can have. That applies to the child, but also to their friends and loved ones
Barncancerfonden sets out to achieve this by operating various fundraising activities to raise money for cancer research and also to directly help both families and hospital staff through what is always a difficult and costly process. Barncancerfonden raises approximately SEK 420 million (around €36 million) every year and strives to influence politicians and people in power to make the responsible decisions that will help children and families have a bright future.
Barncancerfonden launched more than 40 years ago, and Head of IT Martin Bergseth notes that the amount of fundraising that takes place online has increased consistently over the past decade. Since 2015, Barncancerfonden has worked alongside development partner Authority to host its website utilizing Optimizely’s Content Management System (CMS).
Gala night is the highlight of the year
For years, Barncancergalan, the annual Child Cancer Gala, has been Barncancerfonden’s single largest fundraising event and the highlight of the year. The gala is broadcast on TV and live-streamed online, and viewers are encouraged to donate to support the worthy cause.
As Martin explained, all Barncancergalan donations are channeled through the Barncancerfonden website. Due to the increase in viewership and attention the gala provides, there an urgent need to boost site performance far beyond normal day-to-day levels. The gala itself is a two-hour event and Martin estimated that in those two hours, the website experiences approximately the same amount of traffic as it ordinarily sees in a week. These visitors are not passive customers but people who are eager to make a donation.
Working together to make Barncancergalan a success
Martin detailed that Barncancerfonden’s donations system had previously to cope with the sudden spike in donations during the gala. Inevitably, this problem grew until it reached crisis point when the website servers almost crashed entirely.
In 2017, with Authority’s support, Barncancerfonden implemented this cloud solution to increase capacity both during the gala, and in the weeks around it. Optimizely and Authority have come together to deliver a fast and reliable experience for all users viewing the charity’s site, as well as making sure Barncancerfonden’s backend is up to the task of processing all donations that are transacted simultaneously.
Since 2018, Barncancerfonden has had no issues whatsoever in dealing with the spike in demand when Barncancergalan takes place Martin says they scale up as necessary from two to as many as 10 servers as demand dictates.
When Authority stepped in as a development partner with Barncancerfonden, Optimizely’s CMS was being utilized by a previous partner. After assessing Barncancerfonden’s business needs and objectives, Authority decided that Barncancerfonden’s best course of action was to continue using Optimizely’s CMS.
Dimitris, Senior Program Manager at Authority, acknowledged that other content management solutions were considered but stated that moving outside the Optimizely ecosystem was never given any serious consideration. Developers within both Authority and Barncancerfonden were familiar with Optimizely and the solution had consistently delivered since its implementation, so there was no driver or appetite for change.
Dimitris added that the editors at Barncancerfonden were accustomed to Optimizely’s intuitive and easy-to-use CMS. Optimizely’s CMS additional functionality by way of add-ons has proved extremely useful for Barncancerfonden. The Search and Navigation feature, allows Barncancerfonden to base search functionality on visitor search behavior and website statistics and guided search to increase website traffic. The Authoring and Layout feature, which is used frequently by the Barncancerfonden team, allows content creators and editors to easily create functional web pages using Optimizely’s drag and drop functionality.
Dimitris also mentioned that the Language and Localization prompts have also proved very useful. He remarked: “In code level, we actually always think on the basis that everything is going to be localized and then introduced in different languages.” Although most of the website is currently displayed in Swedish, vital areas such as the donation flow, have been translated to English.
Stability and security are watchwords
Martin and Dimitris agreed that high volume of traffic on the website combined with the numerous integrations with critical data mean that ensuring stability and security is paramount. Barncancerfonden store a large amount of personal data in Salesforce which integrates with the Optimizely hosted website. The website also integrates with Klarna, a direct payment provider.
Martin acknowledged that keeping Barncancerfonden’s website “efficient, secure, and future proof” is critical for the company’s success and is something that would be a lot harder to achieve without the security that Optimizely’s CMS provides.
Dimitris added that Authority support Barncancerfonden’s security efforts by regularly examining application insights to identify performance issues or security concerns that need to be addressed. Dimitris explained that “additionally, we conduct load tests prior to important events to ensure optimal performance. We make use of a logging system to monitor and maintain the security and stability of our platform.”
Streamlining Content Management
Martin commented that Optimizely’s CMS has dramatically improved content creation at Barncancerfonden. He says that content for the website comes in from diverse directions every day, including researchers, the marketing team, the communications department and so on. All have their words to share and messages to get across, and doing so without delay is a vital ingredient for consistent fundraising success.
Positive Customer Feedback
Barncancerfonden’s users are always asked to rate their experience on the website. They are quizzed on such aspects as the ease of making a donation and ease of access to relevant information. This feedback is something Martin’s team tracks over time to gauge performance and optimize the website.
In general, Martin has found the feedback to be “overwhelmingly positive.” He says that on a scale of one to five, the average score for questions like the ease of making a donation or satisfaction with the website is around 4.6. With customer satisfaction so high, Barncancerfonden’s internal teams can focus on improving the customer experience rather than problem solving.
Martin remarked: “It's great that our customers are highly satisfied with the services we provide. This level of satisfaction indicates that our services are running smoothly and efficiently. As a result, our focus can be directed towards making incremental tweaks and improvements each year, rather than dealing with major issues or putting out fires.”
Right now, Barncancerfonden is in the process of upgrading to Optimizely CMS 12, with the aim of achieving a website experience that is even faster and smoother for its users. But before long, all thoughts will turn to the 2023 Children’s Gala at the end of September.
After the gala, Barncancerfonden will be launching a large Christmas campaign. This will kick off in October and will cover a range of Christmas-related activities, mostly on the website. There will also be a whole new range of seasonal products in the Christmas gift shop, targeting companies and businesses. Martin explains that this year, Barncancerfonden will be focusing particularly hard on encouraging companies to purchase business during the holiday season.
Looking further ahead to 2024, Barncancerfonden also plan to redesign their website in an attempt to refresh its branding and revamp the donation flow to create a seamless experience for its users.
Barncancerfonden does amazing work for a wonderful cause. Optimizely is proud to play its part as a trusted partner along with Authority and looks forward to continuing to do so in the months and years to come.