Apps Unify JDRF Diabetes Fund-Raising Records

JDRF has turned to cloud platforms from and Appirio to organize millions of fund-raising records in one location.

For JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, fund-raising and cloud computing have come together.

JDRF, a nonprofit organization focused on type 1 diabetes research, is using cloud computing to create a single location to track 5 million donor records. Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has raised more than $1.6 billion for its research on type 1 diabetes.

Before migrating to the cloud, JDRF would take all donations in cash and on paper, James Szmak, chief operating officer at JDRF, told eWEEK.

The cloud has substantially increased the fund-raising capabilities for JDRF, according to Szmak. Now the organization can contact potential donors through email instead of through postal services and take payments by credit card instead of cash and checks, he said.

Operating its applications in the cloud also allows JDRF to "run an IT shop in a very low-cost manner and put the requirements on the vendors," he said.

JDRF uses Convio Luminate, an engagement application from BlackBaud, on Salesforce's customer-relationship-management platform to manage fund-raising activities, communicate with donors and analyze constituent transactions. The organization also uses a budget and forecast system from Adaptive Planning.

In addition, a cloud-based application from Greater Giving allows the JDRF to manage auctions and track attendees to fund-raising galas, said Szmak.

The cloud enables JDRF to organize all of its records into a single platform and avoid duplication of its 5.5 million donor records, Szmak explained.

Cloud service provider Appirio is the chief integrator that allows JDRF to bring these multiple cloud applications together under one Salesforce platform, he said.

"We needed to have a single place to collect data on all of the people that support us," said Szmak. "We need to make sure all of our donor records are centralized into a single repository in our Salesforce app."

Data de-duplication is one of JDRF's biggest challenges, according to Szmak.

"We're finally at a point with the cloud technologies—with the way they're all designed—where we can have fully integrated systems and still have a single record per customer," he said.

Participants re-register with JDRF every time they attend a walk, gala or ride, and have multiple log-ins, according to Robert Swanson, assistant vice president of IT operations for JDRF. Different spellings and email addresses exist for constituents, Swanson said in an Appirio blog post.

To avoid data duplication, JDRF needed a cloud vendor that could efficiently move data between cloud systems, Szmak explained.

"Nothing upsets people who support nonprofits more than seeing us waste money on sending them multiple mailings or emails," he said. "Having a single record per constituent is critical."

In addition, JDRF used Appirio's CloudSpokes crowd-sourcing development platform to build a Web-based support application for patients with type 1 diabetes. The application allows patients or their family members to get answers to their questions about diabetes from experts in the JDRF community.

CloudSpokes provided a way for JDRF to create the support application quickly and at a lower cost, he said.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Robert Swanson is assistant vice president of IT operations for JDRF and James Szmak has been newly appointed its chief operating officer.