AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

How Braze on AWS Helps the American Cancer Society Drive Increased Donations

By Ram Dileepan, Sr. Solutions Architect at AWS
By Jennifer McNamee, Director of Technology Partnerships at Braze
By Emily Halperin, Customer Advocacy Associate at Braze

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Can you imagine a world without cancer? Well, that’s exactly what the American Cancer Society (ACS) is working to achieve.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer was responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths globally in 2018. The ACS is on a mission to free the world from cancer by funding and carrying out research, supporting cancer patients, and educating the public.

ACS achievements include $4.8 billion in funding for research since 1946, providing 9 million free rides to treatment, and more than 900,000 low- or no-cost cancer screenings for patients throughout the world.

ACS funds many of these activities by hosting “Relay for Life” and “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” events that allow participants to raise money via a mobile app called FUNdraising. This app helps users ask for donations through social networks and accept payments via the device’s camera and online services like PayPal.

To build even stronger relationships with their audience, the American Cancer Society sought a way to interact with users and drive increased app usage and donations. To get there, they teamed up with Braze, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner with the AWS Digital Customer Experience Competency.

Braze has been providing brands with built-for-purpose customer engagement capabilities since 2011. The Braze platform makes messages feel more like conversations between you and your customers across channels such as push notifications, email, in-app messages, and more.

End-to-End Engagement Strategy

The healthcare industry is not new to Braze. Organizations have been using the Braze platform to improve patient experiences and the quality of healthcare for years.

The American Cancer Society, in particular, worked with Braze to improve the outcome of fundraising events by enhancing their mobile fundraising application experience.

ACS created an end-to-end engagement strategy using Braze technology embedded in their app. The approach started with driving increased app engagement and fundraising, and then grew to focus on providing transparency on how each user’s donations have positively impacted the lives of those with cancer.

ACS uses the FUNdraising app to engage users by leveraging the Braze platform to:

  • Remind participants of upcoming events. Users receive push notifications to remind them of upcoming events they have registered for.
  • Educate users on events they may not know about. App users receive pushes encouraging them to register for events they’ve attended in the past, as well as other ACS campaigns or relevant news and information.
  • Update users on goal progress. Users receive pushes based on how much of their donation goal they have met. Push messages are sent at 25, 50, and 75 percent of goal completion to encourage users to meet their objectives.
  • Cultivate community through transparency. ACS sends notifications to users who have made donations to show how their generosity has positively impacted the lives of those with cancer.

Below, you can see a few messages sent to users using Braze and the FUNdraising app.


The Braze Platform

Braze is a customer engagement platform built for today’s mobile-first world. It helps brands create live views of their customers that stream and process historical, in-the-moment, and predictive data in an interactive feedback loop. With Braze, immediate action on insights can be taken with relevant messaging across mobile, email, and web.

Traditional batch processing was designed for the era of data storage and retrieval. The new era of stream processors enabled Braze to build a system from the ground up that can both process interactions as they happen (latency) and handle large amounts of data (throughput).

This process is critical because, in order to build good customer experiences, brands must have the foundation in place to react to customers in real-time. People’s time is valuable, and the way to show customers you value them is through timely, personalized messages delivered across multiple channels.

“Braze wants to help improve the relationships and customer experience patients have with their health care providers,” says Jon Hyman, Co-Founder and CTO at Braze. “This means enabling health care companies to provide thoughtful messaging, such as helping large insurance companies inform customers about scheduling an annual physical, or reminding them of scheduled appointments.

“These touch points lead to a better overall experience and a more satisfied customer,” adds Hyman.

As a brand, it’s imperative you are able to reach customers wherever they are, whenever they need you, and on the channel they prefer. Braze’s visual customer journey tool, Canvas, makes building sophisticated, responsive campaigns easy. The drag-and-drop interface guides you through the creation process, one step at a time.

With Canvas, campaigns are created that are as unique and dynamic as the humans who build them and the audiences they seek to serve.

Emphasis on Privacy and Security

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a U.S. federal law that protects the privacy of the personal health information (PHI) and sets limits on sharing and use of this information without patient authorization.

Braze takes HIPAA compliance just as seriously as its health care customers do. Braze even created an entirely separate cluster for HIPAA customers so their data doesn’t have to reside next to non-HIPAA customers’ data.

To further mitigate risk, Braze hired a HIPAA lawyer to ensure their procedures, policies, and security controls are also HIPAA compliant. What’s more, all employees working with HIPAA customers receive special, HIPAA-specific training.

Customer Success

Since the adoption of Braze, and a mobile app engagement strategy designed to drive engagement, awareness, and lifecycle management, the American Cancer Society has sent push notifications to identify key moments and messaging for their audience.

The targeted messaging used by ACS takes full advantage of audience segmentation and personalization, boosting awareness and funding by strengthening their audience’s educational and emotional connections with the organization.

The result? The time users spent in the app increased by more than 300 percent. In addition, the number of opens per month increased by 100 percent, and the overall Life Time Value (LTV) of app users is up to 30 percent higher compared to event participants who fundraise without the app.

When the messages explaining in concrete terms how participants’ fundraising efforts were helping people with cancer, and where this money was going—including efforts to improve cancer survival, decrease the incidence of cancer, and enhancing the quality of life for patents and their caregivers—more funds flowed in.

Tens of thousands of additional dollars of in-app funds (an estimated 34 percent increase) were raised since ACS adopted Braze. Overall, 50 percent of recipients started sessions within three days, and new messages were opened at a rate of 30 percent.

ACS was also looking for ways to increase fundraising during the traditionally slow period between November and December. They used the Braze platform to send push notifications to their mobile app during this period.

At the end of the fundraising cycle, users who received push notifications had raised 10 percent more funds than the previous year, which was directly attributed the messages sent in-app.

The Braze Experience

Each Braze customer has access to an onboarding and integration team member to go through the technical setup. Onboarding managers help to integrate the Braze software developer kit (SDK) into customers’ apps, supporting data collection and other key functionalities.

Braze also provides marketing and strategic guidance on best practices, and help end users use the Braze dashboard and become experts with the platform.

All customers have access to robust documentation and a learning module called LAB (Learning at Braze). Once customers are finished onboarding, they are fully supported from a long-term perspective with a Success Manager to help them with strategic and marketing guidance

For ACS, the connection to their volunteers and donors is essential. By using Braze to forge a human connection with their audience, ACS has been able to drive more users to their app, keep those users more engaged, and significantly increase fundraising, providing a major boost in the organization’s mission.

The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.



Braze – APN Partner Spotlight

Braze is an AWS Competency Partner that provides brands with built-for-purpose customer engagement capabilities. The Braze platform makes messages feel more like conversations between you and your customers across channels such as push notifications, email, in-app messages, and more.

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