Child Cancer Foundation

Nonprofit improves collaboration and reliability, saves $60,000 with cloud solution

Solution Overview:

Organization Size

54 employees

Organization Profile

The Child Cancer Foundation provides ongoing practical, emotional, and financial assistance to up to 900 children per year with cancer, and their families.

Business Situation

Child Cancer Foundation’s on-premise solution was aging, with a prohibitive cost to upgrade for the non-profit. The foundation also wanted to increase collaboration and centralize information.


The non-profit chose Microsoft Office 365 for email and documents, document sharing, online meetings, instant messaging, and presence information.

  • Improved collaboration
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased reliability
Software and Services
  • Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Microsoft Lync Online
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft SharePoint Online
Vertical Industries



New Zealand

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Data Protection and Recovery


Company Overview:

The Child Cancer Foundation’s vision is that every family walking the child cancer journey will never feel alone.The Foundation aims to provide high standards of support services to children with cancer and their families, ensuring that they are well-informed, cared for, and supported at every step of their journey.

CHILD CANCER FOUNDATION Case StudyThese important sources of support – emotional, practical and financial – are delivered by the Family Support team, working in conjunction with CCF branch members, volunteers and other agencies within the families’ local communities. Services are provided for families while attending treatment centres throughout New Zealand, upon the patients’ return home, for those facing the palliative stage of treatment, and those dealing with the loss of a child.


As a non-profit, The Child Cancer Foundation is like any small business in terms of needing to manage and limit spend, with the added factor that dollars spent on IT detract from what can be used to support the charity’s mission.

The Child Cancer Foundation has a central administrative office; however, information and documents were not centralised, and there was no easy way to share best practices among the regions. Files were mainly on employees’ local computers, a large cumbersome file share, and comprised of a large body of knowledge that wasn’t being shared. “One of my concerns was that when people were leaving the Foundation, they took with them a lot of institutional knowledge and I wanted a better way to retain it within the organization. We also wanted to be able to better share that information across the Foundation,” says John Robson, Board Chairman Child Cancer Foundation.

Having Lync means that employees can use instant messaging to quickly connect and have questions answered, and the team uses presence and shared calendar information to work more effectively.

– John Robson
Chairman of the National Board
The Child Cancer Foundation.

Because of the lack of centralised information and means to communicate, the Foundation had high travel costs for employees to attend team meetings. Conference calls, while an alternative to travel, were also costly due to high telco fees. “It was frustrating to see the amount of time and money spent on travel and phone calls before Office 365,” comments Robson.

The Foundation’s email and files were housed on an aging set of on-premises servers, and increasing hardware issues and the costs associated with their maintenance were becoming prohibitive. While the foundation’s obsolete desktop footprint and connectivity issues necessitated a change, the Board could not justify an estimated $120,000 in hardware upgrades and migration over the next few years. Due to the nature of its charitable work, the Foundation needed a solution that would be highly reliable and accessible no matter what, and with a quick migration that would not interrupt service. The Foundation would quickly learn just how critical that particular requirement was to their ongoing operations.


The Child Cancer Foundation evaluated other cloud solutions, but chose Microsoft Online Services in 2010, recently upgrading to Office 365, the online service which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions, for its ability to open up increased collaboration and member service for the foundation. Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange Online provide the reliable email and applications needed for day-to-day work. Microsoft SharePoint Online provides a staff intranet and board portal for document storage and collaboration.

Microsoft Lync Online has been well received by employees, eliminating costly conference calls and drastically reducing in-person meetings. “Having Lync means that employees can use instant messaging to quickly connect and have questions answered, and the team uses presence and shared calendar information to work more effectively, “ says Robson. “Plus, we now have cloud-based voice and video to replace our old internal phone system!”

The Child Cancer Foundation found that the solution met their cost requirements as well, due to Microsoft’s discounted pricing for eligible charities. “There are a lot of ‘free’ solutions available, but what might seem like a no-cost solution usually isn’t the case when you look at the economics. It was clear that Office 365 would meet our needs for collaboration, integration, and low cost,” says Robson.

The Foundation was in the process of migrating when their building in Christchurch, that also housed an on-premises server, was destroyed in an earthquake. Since several employees needed to work remotely as a result, Robson and team created a virtual office via a team site, so they could access documents from the National Office. “We had several families in treatment at the oncology center in Christchurch at the time, and they needed even more support after the earthquake. It would have been devastating not to be able to support them,” says Robson.


Office 365 enabled the Child Cancer Foundation to communicate and share information among its branch offices more effectively, with a solution that reduced costs and was reliable and flexible enough to accommodate even an emergency situation.

Improved Collaboration

The new solution has improved sharing knowledge among offices, employees, and members. “We use the National Office to manage and centralise information across the other offices; it’s very important to ensure that everyone, regardless of their location, be able to support the families in their region with up-to-date information,” Robson noted.

It was frustrating to see the amount of time and money spent on travel and phone calls before Office 365.

– John Robson
Chairman of the National Board
The Child Cancer Foundation

Reduced Travel, Telco, and IT Costs

The costs of managing the server, which had become prohibitive, have been greatly reduced because many tasks are now done remotely by Microsoft as part of the Office 365 subscription. “The money saved from eliminating conference calls alone has paid for this deployment—including the intranet. We also had a lot of people flying across the country, so just reducing the need to be in the room with people has reduced travel costs significantly,” says Robson.

Increased Reliability

Since the migration to the Microsoft Cloud, and the recent upgrade to Office 365, there have been no issues with email, and the solution even proved up to the task of helping the organisation maintain its service levels to clients and their families after the February 2011 earthquake.

The Foundation plans to roll out team sites to each of its regional offices to provide its member families with a secure site for sharing stories and information, since helping patients and their families find the right resources is a key goal of the Foundation.

Microsoft Office 365:

Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.

Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.


Microsoft Case Study: Child Cancer Foundation

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