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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Action Cancer awarded £93,234 from dormant bank accounts to support its digital drive

L-R Dougie King (Head of Fundraising and Communications Action Cancer) and Lesley Johnston (Funding Officer The National Lottery Community Fund).

Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity, Action Cancer has been awarded £93,234 from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI, delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund in conjunction with the Department of Finance.

The money was delivered after Action Cancer successfully bid for the funding with its ‘Let’s Go Digital’ campaign, submitted in November 2021.

That drive is focussed on future-proofing the organisation through improved technology and a sustainable infrastructure. It also seeks to bring digital transformation to the whole organisation, positively impacting upon its services, fundraising and retail departments.

The Dormant Accounts Fund NI supports the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) in Northern Ireland to be more resilient and prepared for the future by funding activity that increases long term capacity and sustainability.

L-R Lesley Johnston (Funding Officer The National Lottery Community Fund) and Dougie King (Head of Fundraising and Communications Action Cancer).

Dormant accounts are UK bank and building society accounts that have been untouched for 15 or more years, and where banks and building societies are unable to trace the customer who owns the account.

The funding it has allocated to Action Cancer will support three key aspects; purchase and deployment of an Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system to all 16 Action Cancer retail shops at till points throughout Northern Ireland; the appointment of a Digital Media Consultant and accredited digital media training to upskill staff.

The digital EPOS operating system, which has been specifically built for the charity retail sector, will improve the ability to communicate between each shop and Head Office and improve Action Cancer’s communication with its dedicated donors.

It will also help to manage stock and sales more effectively and increase income in a growing digitised area, where consumers rely more on mobile and app technology.

Its execution will reduce inefficiency and administration time, reduce reliance on a declining volunteer workforce and future-proof the digitisation of the £1.2m that Action Cancer’s retail department processes annually.

Seamless gift aid reporting is another unique element of this system, allowing for zero errors to HMRC while also increasing income from gift aid signups, improving customer engagement and building even more repeat business and loyalty by collecting more accurate management information.

The funding will also support the employment of a new Digital Marketing Expert, on a consultancy basis, allowing Action Cancer to maximise social media platforms and email marketing to grow income, develop support base, and extend reach to stakeholders.

It will also help boost cancer awareness and uptake of cancer prevention, early detection and support services while supporting the upskilling of staff who will undertake a CIM Level 6 qualification in Digital Marketing.

Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s Northern Ireland Chair, said:

“Congratulations to Action Cancer on this grant award from Dormant Accounts Fund NI, which will help secure their long-term future, helping save lives and support people impacted by a cancer diagnosis. We wish them every success with the project.

“Since Dormant Accounts Fund NI opened in 2021, we have awarded over 100 organisations to build their capacity, helping them to carry out fantastic work to support communities across Northern Ireland.”

Dougie King, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Action Cancer, added:

“We are absolutely thrilled to be in receipt of this funding. By 2030 cancer rates in NI will have increased by 40%. Our services will be needed more than ever. By digitising our income streams and communications, we will be equipped to meet this ever-increasing demand, underpinning our mission to save lives and support people.”

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