Cork Radiothon LogoCork’s 96FM Giving For Living Radiothon has become an annual tradition and one of the largest events on Cork’s fundraising calendar. The funds raised go to causes that are close to every Corkonian’s heart, with the Mercy Hospital, CUH, Marymount Hospice, Breakthrough Cancer Research and Cork Arc Cancer Support House all benefitting.

This year, from May 22nd to 24th, the Radiothon raised a massive €406,000 and donations are still coming in. StudioForty9 are proud to support this superb initiative – and proud too of the web project we created to help the fund-raisers do their work and let people make donations with the minimum of fuss.

The Start …

StudioForty9 first started working on what is basically a workflow system for managing charity donations back in November 2013, when we took over development of the Mercy Miracles web project. You might remember the Mercy Miracles 2013 appeal, which ran on C103fm in early December and raised over €80,000. The money allowed the Mercy Hospital to upgrade facilities for people suffering from strokes and heart problems.

And On To Version Two …

The Radiothon 2014 team aimed to raise even more funds for a larger number of charities. A key part of their success would depend on those fundraisers manning the p[hones being able to deal quickly and efficiently with contributions. 

Of course those manning the phones for the Radiothon are not IT experts, so we went to some lengths to make sure the system we developed was simple, easy-to-use and fitted into their workflow.

However the main requirement was to make the system fast and reliable, allowing those at the end of the phone to move through the calls as quickly as possible. Developed on WordPress, it’s a mark of how far this open source blogging platform has come that it could support a system such as this.

SMS

One of the main ways the Radiothon site meets its goals is by making it as easy as possible for radio listeners to make a contribution. To that end, while the campaign was running on 96fm, contributors were encouraged to text the word ‘friend’ to 53069. The text messages were then routed to the web-based system and stored in a database where a fundraiser could use the information to call up and accept the contribution.

Handling The Donations

While on the phone the fundraiser could update the contributor’s details and process several types of donation including:

  • once-off payments (accepted from Credit Cards and processed via the RealEx gateway)
  • cheques
  • direct debits (set up over the phone)
  • direct debits (with the forms being sent out through the mail)

The system also supported contributors who want to run a coffee morning or collect money using a change collection box – so all fundraising activity could be managed from one place.

Helping The Flow

To make the whole thing work smoothly Colin Murphy, our developer:

  • used a tiered access system for the back end. This meant that when the fundrasiers logged in they saw an extremely simple and goal-orientated design, while administrators had access to more data.
  • created batch files from the database to reduce file sizes, speed up the system and allow tasks to be delegated more easily
  • database requests were sent via AJAX (a realtime javascript / PHP integration), so avoiding the need for fundraisers to be constantly refreshing the web page
  • people who contact Radiothon from the website are automatically sent a personalised email – meaning less work for those fundrasiers manning the phones
  • an easy data export facility, to allow for mail merges and other marketing activities.

A Friendly But Focussed Front End

The public-facing side of the website has a simple design. Its homepage assumes most visitors have arrived as a result of the radio coverage and lets them support the Radiothon as quickly as posible. Other sections of the site let people know about the charities, see where the money is being spent and view photos. 

Astounding Results

Over €406,000 has been raised so far, with more money still coming in. The funds can be used for everything from paying for new research posts to buying new equipment, from paying for DNA sequencing to furnishing a family room. At StudioForty9 we were pleased to be able to support and contribute towards what we feel is a fantastic cause.

If you'd like to donate, it's not too late. Please visit www.radiothon.ie

Web Development For Cork Charities