Using Data Analytics to Help Drive Research


Behind all the laboratories and expert scientists it takes to create better kids’ cancer treatments are the systems and data in place to keep funding running smoothly. Thanks to The Kids’ Cancer Project’s ongoing partnership with SAS Analytics, now in its seventh year, we’re able to operate more efficiently and help commit even more money to vital kids’ cancer research.

Few things are more heartbreaking than seeing a child with cancer. What a cruel twist of fate to befall someone so innocent, with so much life yet to live. In Australia, three families hear the words ‘your child has cancer’ every day and tragically, three Aussie kids will die from cancer every week.

It’s this indiscriminate cruelty that led Col Reynolds to found The Kids’ Cancer Project in 1993, and what drives him and our team to this day. But, behind the staff, fundraising and scientists are the systems that help make it all work.

SAS and fundraising efficiency 

Cancer research is a costly endeavour. Identifying better treatments, building capabilities and developing support programs are all resource-intensive and time-consuming. To truly make an impact with its financial contributions, The Kids’ Cancer Project needed a better way to grow its donation pool and operate more effectively.

Enter SAS Analytics. In 2017, a conversation quickly became an altruistic partnership that has allowed The Kids’ Cancer Project to solve a range of challenges facing the charity. Today, The Kids’ Cancer Project uses a powerful analytics solution from the SAS Enterprise Guide and a structured training program to improve the efficiency of its donor management processes. Craig Jennings, Vice President, SAS Australia and New Zealand said:

“SAS is committed to helping The Kids’ Cancer Project achieve their vision of 100% survival for all children, adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer. Today the survival rate is 86% (up approximately 30% from when the charity was formed in 1993), with the help of charity founder, Col Reynolds OAM and his amazing team.” 

Over the years, The Kids’ Cancer Project has built up a database of over 1 million donor records. Since we engaged SAS, their software has been part of our core technologies in data management and analysis. 

The Kids’ Cancer Project uses SAS to improve fundraising efforts for vital cancer research. SAS have also engaged their wider team across some of the Kids’ Cancer Projects partnership and fundraising events and campaigns helping us raise both awareness and vital fund to have an impact on childhood cancer. 

While key fundraising campaigns and events serve as inflexion points for The Kids’ Cancer Project, regular giving is the heartbeat of our charity. Ongoing regular donations are crucial in financing our long-term plans to fund the best childhood cancer researchers in Australia. 

The Kids’ Cancer Project staff with SAS volunteers at a Women In Business event in May 2023
The Kids’ Cancer Project staff with SAS volunteers at a Women In Business event in May 2023

Since 2019, our work with SAS has allowed us to grow our Regular Giving from $1.2 million to over $2.2 million, an 83% increase over four years. 

It has not just been a data journey. Perhaps the most valuable change, according to Owen Finegan, CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project, is how SAS has shifted mindsets within the organisation. He says:

The partnership with SAS has been transformative, it’s challenged us to think differently, become more data driven and changed how we operate for the better. It’s a true partnership and collaboration … SAS is deeply invested in our organisation.

It’s also worth mentioning that SAS educational courses play a big role in our onboarding of new staff because of their easy-to-follow and structured training. Henry Yuen, The Kids’ Cancer Project’s Head of IT and Data, says:

“The additional training ensures that the charity's team becomes proficient in leveraging the SAS software for ongoing and future projects. The SAS software is low maintenance allowing our staff to focus their time on analysing data, and helping the business make data-driven decisions.” 

The Kids’ Cancer Project has benefited from the expertise and guidance of SAS consultants who bring a wealth of expertise in data analytics, statistical modelling, and business intelligence. Their guidance supports the charity in navigating the complex data landscape, designing effective strategies, and implementing best practices to improve our decision-making processes.

Overall SAS has helped us grow in our data-driven approach to fundraising that allows us to find the right donors, personalise campaigns, and ultimately grow our fundraising success. This growth allows us to continue to have a greater impact on childhood cancer research.

Next steps for The Kids’ Cancer Project 

This year, The Kids' Cancer Project is undertaking a migration to Salesforce CRM, a strategic move aimed at enhancing integration across our fundraising platforms. This migration is poised to facilitate increased automation and seamless information flow, thereby augmenting the richness of our data. 

Once again, we are collaborating with SAS on this important and complex project, leveraging their expertise to guide us in the establishment of a comprehensive 360-degree customer view within the digital space of social media and cross-platforms web activities.

Our overarching objective is to not only raise more funds for cancer research but also to optimise our fundraising efficiency. To do this, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and strategic partnerships to drive advancements in cancer research is crucial. These new processes and initiatives will play a crucial role in achieving our fundraising goals while contributing to the broader mission of improving outcomes for children affected by cancer. Owen Finegan adds:

This is a wonderful, across-the-board relationship for The Kids' Cancer Project. Every dollar we raise means more money channelled to fighting childhood cancers, identifying better treatments, building capabilities and developing support programs that will ensure kids not only survive but thrive.

A huge thank you to SAS Analytics for their ongoing expertise and support.