90 years of the Good Friday Appeal
The Good Friday Appeal demonstrates the power of a community coming together for a great cause. The success can be measured not only by the total funds raised, but also the number of people who participate in fundraising activities and, most importantly, the impact it makes on the community.
“It started in 1931 when a group of journalists from the Herald and Weekly Times decided to hold a sports carnival to raise money for sick children. They raised £450 and to have now raised $399 million over the last 90 years, is very special. It is because of the dedication and generosity of so many generations of families, businesses and individuals giving year after year. Every year on Good Friday, we have thousands of volunteers across the state shaking tins to collect donations, hundreds of fundraising events held and Channel 7 broadcasting an 8-hour telethon with entertainment to engage the entire community,” said Rebecca Cowan, Executive Director, Good Friday Appeal.
Funds raised are donated to The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne to deliver world-class medical care, support research, purchase state-of-the-art equipment and technology, provide patient and family-centred care programs and foster staff excellence through education programs, scholarships and fellowships.
“The Good Friday Appeal receives incredible support from volunteers, fundraisers, community groups, media partners and businesses throughout the year. This year we celebrated our 90th Appeal and raised just over $17 million which was a phenomenal result considering the challenging year it had been,” added Rebecca.
Importance of the contact centre amidst COVID-19 restrictions
As one of the sponsors of the event, Telstra managed the Good Friday Appeal phone room, a one-day contact centre run by volunteers that takes donations via its dedicated phone line – 1300 APPEAL (1300 277 325). Thousands of donations are made each year via the phone room, playing a critical role to the success of the Good Friday Appeal.
“We have been very fortunate to partner with Telstra who have been supporting us for over 70 years with our telephony requirements. The phone room is vital for our operations as thousands of people call us on the day to donate, it’s a popular tradition as part of the Good Friday Appeal,” claimed Rebecca.
“We needed a solution in place so that donors have a personal interaction where they can talk to someone before donating, another alternative to donating online.”
In 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions, one challenge faced by the Good Friday Appeal was the location and setup of the phone room. With limited access to the site until close to the event, Telstra along with the team made the decision to run the phone room with the help of a cloud-based contact centre solution – Telstra Contact Centre Genesys Cloud.
“We needed a contact centre solution that was simple to use, quick to deploy and easy to scale,” said Rebecca.
Telstra Genesys Cloud provides a cost-effective and simple to manage solution by eliminating the need for investment in data and voice networks. All voice calls are delivered via Telstra’s SIP network and PSTN, to either a softphone (WebRTC) or physical phone. The agent desktop is web-based and accessed via the public internet. This means the solution is fast to deploy with no dedicated network or complex data and voice design required.
“Traditionally, we used an-on premise solution for the Good Friday Appeal. This year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, and shortened access to site, we couldn’t implement the same solution as it required a longer lead time for infrastructure like hardware setup, network cabling, access to site and onsite technicians. We got access to the event site, MCEC, just 3 days prior to the event. That’s why the decision was made to use Genesys Cloud which could be quickly deployed with minimum infrastructure requirement and is scalable and able to flex to support high call volumes,” said Michelle Falcone, Product Manager, Telstra.
Telstra Contact Centre Genesys Cloud
Telstra Purple’s dedicated contact centre practice team, that has delivered over 100 Genesys Cloud solutions, deployed the solution at the Good Friday Appeal site. Telstra’s partner, Genesys, donated the licenses for use during the event.
The solution was configured remotely, which provided the flexibility required for the Good Friday Appeal and Telstra to adhere to restrictions on the number of people allowed onsite before and during the event.
The intuitive and user-friendly interface of the solution helped the phone room volunteers to quickly adopt the Contact Centre technology and ensured they could log in and start answering the calls within minutes.
Telstra Purple configured the user interface by removing some of the features which were not needed, so that the volunteers wouldn’t get distracted from seeing too many options on their screens. With volunteers needing to be trained on the day of the appeal, Telstra Purple assisted by providing training to team leaders and login instructions for the volunteers.
“Our initial hesitation with getting new technology was because we needed to train over 200 volunteers on the day of the Appeal. Thanks to the Telstra team’s personalisation of the software and patience in walking us through the solution at every step, we did not face any significant problems and the overall user experience was seamless. Our phone room volunteers found the application easier and much better to use than the previous systems,” said Georgie Hill, Operations and Volunteer Coordinator, Good Friday Appeal.
Transforming the contact centre experience
The performance monitoring features of Genesys Cloud provided complete visibility of the phone room including the number of calls answered, queued and on-hold.
“The live supervisory dashboard helped to ensure we had the right number of volunteers which, in turn, helped us to manage call traffic and volunteers’ breaks. We had visibility of the live data that made it easier for the supervisors to manage the call traffic. There was a big reduction in the abandoned call rate, and the ability to quickly get the calls connected with zero to minimum wait time, provided a rich experience for everyone involved. Our phone room volunteers unanimously agreed that this solution was the best that they have used in years,” mentioned Georgie.
“Telstra has been managing our telephony and phone room for years now. The amount of work and support that Telstra provides leading up to the event, on the day and post event is phenomenal. Feedback from our volunteer supervisors and managers who have been running the phone room for 25 years was incredible – everyone was really positive and liked the new solution. Telstra’s support of the event has grown and the innovation they have introduced over the years has been transformational to the Good Friday Appeal,” shared Rebecca.
With access to smart technology like Genesys Cloud, Telstra can offer the Good Friday Appeal more options including a contactless payment solution and engaging people through social channels for their next Appeal in 2022.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support Telstra has provided over the years. We look forward to continuing to partner together and enhancing the technology for our volunteers and supporters to ensure we continue to raise money and create the greatest impact to support sick kids and their families,” said Rebecca.