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Make-a-Wish Foundation Soars to Cloud

Mitch Wagner

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is looking to the cloud to help grant wishes to thousands of children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses in the US every year.

"Every year in the US, about 27,000 kids are diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition," David Williams, president and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, tells Enterprise Cloud News. "For those children and their families, when that diagnosis comes in, their world turns upside-down. Instead of thinking about schools and sports, they are thinking about radiation and chemotherapy."

Make-A-Wish helps bring those children and their families back into the world with a simple question: What do you want to do? "All of a sudden, a child and family are able to think about something aside from their illness," Williams said in an interview with Enterprise Cloud News at the Salesforce.com Inc. Dreamforce conference last month.

The foundation was founded in 1980, with a mandate to help terminally ill children, and changed its mission 15 years later to broaden its focus to children with life-threatening illnesses. About 70% of the children participating in the program recover from their illness, with some help from Make-A-Wish in helping to mitigate the children's stress and depression. "The anticipation of the wish, the wish itself, and looking back on the wish decreases depression and reduces anxiety. It reduces the number of trips to the hospital and trips to the emergency room," Williams says.

Make-A-Wish is using Salesforce in a pilot program in one of its 62 chapters to track individual cases. The case is entered into the system as a referral from the medical community, and goes through a workflow, starting with sending an email to the medical community to get more understanding about the case. The foundation uses Salesforce to coordinate visits of volunteers to the family to gather details about the case, and to plan logistics.

President Obama greets Make-a-Wish child Diego Diaz, 2011. Photo by Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
President Obama greets Make-a-Wish child Diego Diaz, 2011. Photo by Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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After the wish is granted and the case closed, the information moves to the foundation's marketing division to choose which cases to use for marketing and branding, Williams says.

Make-A-Wish selected Salesforce for its integrated automation, workflows and Einstein artificial intelligence, as well as the ecosystem of Salesforce partners, with third-party applications available from AppExhange, and training from the Trailhead program, Make-A-Wish Chief Information Officer Bipin Jayaraj says.

The Salesforce application creates a unified stakeholder ecosystem for everyone involved in the wish -- the child, her family, the medical community, volunteers, foundation staff, logistics and finance, and possibly one or more celebrities. Later, the foundation plans to bring donors, marketing and development, the foundation board and other partners into the digital ecosystem, Jayaraj says.

The Salesforce application speeds production time -- a 60% reduction in the time for medical eligibility workflow, and reduced paperwork and decreased manual intervention, Jayaraj says.

The foundation is looking to Salesforce to improve information aggregation and to improve the experience for children and their families, as well as enabling additional revenue growth opportunities with better donor identification and recruitment, Jayaraj says.

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— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Follow me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

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