How Starlight Foundation is enacting digital transformation – for good

Charity shares how technology, digital and data are transforming its services and support for seriously and chronically ill children and teenagers

Digital disruption is not a negative thing for children’s charity, Starlight Foundation, it’s an opportunity.

“Digital is another way of communicating with and servicing our community, and it’s also about being more targeted and efficient,” Starlight Foundation CEO, Louise Baxter, told CMO. “It’s a natural progression. If we’re smart about it and put the structures in place, it will enhance everything we do and help us automate it.”

It’s this quest to utilise technology and digital capability for good that has triggered an organisation-wide transformation at the charity, which seeks to improve the lives of seriously and chronically ill children and teenagers.

The first step towards significant technological change happened when Baxter appointed an IT advisory board to Starlight, headed by Origin Energy GM of information technology - CIO, Geoff Wenborn. The group is tasked with looking at where Starlight wanted to get to, and how to get there. It also investigated the IT and organisational capabilities needed, and how to transition legacy IT infrastructure and embrace cloud-based solutions to achieve it.

Technology and digital had been repeatedly identified by Starlight’s employees as areas the organisation had lagged behind in.

“From our regular feedback, the team identified that we were behind from a technological and digital point of view, and we listened to that,” Baxter said. “Everything we do comes back to connecting people and actively being more efficient to deliver wonderful experiences. So it’s also about doing this for the team at Starlight.”

Read in detail the 10 steps Starlight's people and culture teams took to help employees embrace digital technology transformation.

Getting the technology right first

Starlight identified CRM as the core foundation layer required to start building its vision of a digitally enabled future. In August 2014, the organisation went live with a Salesforce-based CRM platform, adding Salesforce Marketing Cloud capabilities to the mix 12 months ago.

“Without the IT infrastructure, you can’t get the data, and from there, the insights,” Baxter said. But it also won’t work without the buy-in of staff.

“There is so much extra work to be done on top of the business-as-usual, and these are complex programs that create pressure points,” Baxter said of the CRM project. “It required constant communications, thanking the team, and keeping enough momentum going for when things finally go live.”

The first-phase CRM deployment has been followed by a series of digital projects, stretching from a mobile responsive website and online payments gateway to a digitally powered community of more than 6000 volunteers called ‘My Starlight’, which replaced a push messaging service.

“The community chats with each other, organises meetings and works together,” Baxter said. “They’re also sharing ideas to embellish wishes for the children we support.”

Another recent advancement enabled by Salesforce is Android tablet sign-on units at the entrances to Starlight Express hospital rooms nationally, known as Orbit. These replaced a paper sign-in process and today boast a user capture rate of 95 per cent.

Because these are hooked back into the CRM system, a visitor who pre-books a room will be recognised when they check-in onsite. In addition, data recorded through the units is being used in a de-identifiable way to provide demographic information on room usage, popular times of days and to better understand overall engagement.

Thinking strategically about data

To further its ambitions, Starlight is working with Starlight advisory board member and chairman of Stackla, Junkee Media and Pollenizer, Tony Faure, to establish a group to support its data and digital strategy.

According to Baxter, no technology advancement can truly succeed unless it has the people and culture to support it. She described the approach Starlight is taking to digital as “a permanent startup model”.

“There’s also that fear of change but equally failure – you have to have an organisational culture where failure is OK,” she said. “What we have done to ensure this is to position innovation as a series of projects and opportunities.”

The biggest ongoing challenge is how Starlight prioritises new projects to better capitalise on its data sets.

“For example, we get a lot of donated goods and services that could be tracked better online, then there’s resourcing our events – we’ve had to do this manually previously, but now everything talks to each other, we can start to change that,” Baxter said.

Up next: We find out how Starlight embraced the technological and cultural foundations for a digital future

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

Natural born leaders

Many business and marketing managers progressing to leadership positions face evolving their focus from operational matters to strategic decision making and planning.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

​We have expected artificial intelligence (AI) will become part of our everyday lives for quite some time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Just printed out this Brad Howarth screed to read tomorrow. I need a good laugh once in a while. Or maybe shed some manly-man tears at th...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

Morons. PC Nazis infiltrating and subverting every level in our lives.These scum have destroyed our education system.Read FrontPage Magaz...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

It is an accepted fact that in the present times the mass makes use of digital marketing more often and are more and more enlightened wit...

Digital Marketing Course in Ja

Why RMIT is partnering with Adobe for digital marketing learning

Read more

If men were really the dominating brutes that feminist make them out to be ,then women really would be second class citizens. Without th...

aaron

Analysis: Gillette's latest ad only proves why brands standing for positive change is vital

Read more

In 2019 Augmented Reality plays a vital role in marketing campaign its new way to engaged user with digital content. Try Augmented Realit...

hill william

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in