Helping Set Up Address Delivery of Bedtime Stories to Refugee Children
Better Time Stories project is among Noltic’s latest pro bono partnerships focused on emotional support and family reconnection of one of the most vulnerable Ukrainian society groups – children who fled the war and are staying out of their usual comforting social circle. We worked on optimizing Better Time Stories’ request processing system to make sure their team has all the tools up and running to keep up their mission of delivering interactive book sets with individual audios narrated by close family members to refugee kids in several European countries.
The Better Time Stories non-profit project was created in Europe to answer an urgent humanitarian crisis coming out from the Russian aggressive war. The primary idea evolved around the Ukrainian social-tech enthusiast Andriy Shmyhelskyy’s project iKs (Interactive Kids Stories) that provided a solution for parents or other relatives to record themselves reading books to their kids. While this project had not been initially created to address such heavy issues, when the invasion began, the idea was reevaluated to specifically help Ukrainian children fleeing the war. The number of those kids is over 2 million, which is more than a quarter of the Ukrainian child population.
The organization handles requests from Ukrainian refugee families with children in Europe who have been disconnected from family members in their homeland under the invader's attack. The operational landscape currently consists of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and partially Austria. With every €15 donation Better Time Stories delivers a beautiful interactive set with 5 bilingual illustrated story books, 10 professionally narrated books and up to 25 stories narrated and recorded by every individual child’s dear person who stayed in Ukraine. The project helps children cope with painfully emotional separation and adaptation to the new environment under heavy circumstances by providing a comforting escape place with familiar voices and bright reassuring stories. The children reading bilingual books can also learn a new language – Dutch or German with Ukrainian translation – to feel welcome and supported in a new society.
Better Time Stories’ opportunity to come into life was initially supported by number 5 foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Dutch Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn who continue their patronage over the project. Number 5 foundation manages the community funding and assures a stable financial ground for Better Time Stories’ operations, while the tech part lies within iKs’ responsibilities. Other patrons of the project include three First Ladies of state – Olena Zelenska of Ukraine, Elke Büdenbender of Germany and Doris Schmidauer of Austria.
Better Time Stories processed incoming donations and managed requests from families in need using the Salesforce nonprofit solution. However, due to the project having been urgently put together to promptly react to the war implications on children, their existing system encountered various bugs and inconsistencies. The organization needed an expert service provider who knows their way around Salesforce and would be skilled to implement new solutions without putting down the existing setup.
Noltic proudly became Better Time Stories’ first choice due to our reputation in the field. The communication with the production team was easy to establish thanks to professional networking that turned out to have connected our management with Better Time Stories’ engineering manager Ihor years prior to this partnership.
Some of the issues and expectations on this project included:
- Increased risk of human error within internal operations that were mostly manual because of the fast paced initial production;
- Additional tools implementation needed for future partnerships with other nonprofit organizations or government structures possessing large credibility and operating bulk requests from multiple families;
- Non-optimized package distribution among families due to the request form malfunctioning that lead to an excess number of book sets delivered to households with a few children where one set for them would suffice;
- Lack of flexibility in options for manual data input when working with group refugee housings;
- Planned scaling outside of the Netherlands to start operating in Belgium, Germany and Austria;
- The request system allowing duplicates, Cyrillic letters input and lack or misplacement of necessary contact and postal information resulting in complicating the delivery process or making it completely impossible in some cases;
- The need for an ongoing technical support of the current Salesforce system.
- Fixing form request malfunctioning to stop allowing more than one package per household for effective donation spending;
- Expanded system capabilities to allow deliveries to Belgium, Germany and Austria by Christmas for children to have their presents for holidays;
- Adding an option for manual package quantity input for effective work with group refugee housings;
- Adding additional gatekeeping data validation steps to prevent wrong types of information from going into the request system for successful package delivery;
- Working out a solution for request verification using IDs to avoid scam and duplicates;
- Organizing data view by categories for effective distribution and optimized support agents workflow;
- Developing a flow for matching individual donors with families they help by sending personalized heartfelt messages after each donation;
- Creating a test environment for sample data testing instead of real data to eliminate the possibility of affecting the business environment;
- Providing continuous service support and QA for uninterrupted system runtime.
- Improved precise address delivery and cost efficiency after implementing advanced verification stages and fraud detection;
- €41,130.00 received in donations turning into around 2400 packages sent to Germany, around 190 – to Belgium, around 130 – to the Netherlands with pre-Noltic data stating 1000 packages sent and only 70% successful delivery rate;
- Increased employees’ productivity thanks to organized data they work with in Salesforce;
- More families satisfied and more social value achieved due to optimized process of set delivery with the one package per household rule;
- Customized address validation for different countries resulting in less postal office issues;
- Successful decrease of data loss occurrences happening in the initial stage of the deployment due to lack of testing.