Norwegian Refugee Council gets more help to where it’s needed most, with the help of GoCardless
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is a humanitarian, non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on protecting the rights of, and offering direct help to, displaced people. In 2020 it helped almost 12 million people and it is currently engaged in assisting individuals caught up in new and long-standing crises and emergencies across 35 countries.
Many of those fleeing crises often cannot return home for a number of years, so it’s important for the NRC to connect with as many people as possible, and to stay with them for as long as is necessary.
“NRC is probably the largest NGO you haven't heard that much about,” Brage Storkerson, Head of Donor Systems, Norwegian Refugee Council. “Our most recent global revenue was 5 billion kroner a year and our aim is for at least 90% of all revenue to reach our cause – that is the high level of value we are looking to deliver to our beneficiaries.”
Donors who choose to make regular donations to NRC are paramount to the work that the charity does — they are instrumental in enabling it to provide assistance in the shape of food security, education, shelter, legal assistance, camp management; and water, sanitation, and hygiene. The charity needed a robust strategy for dealing with failed Direct Debit payments, the preferred option for many of their supporters
The NRC migrated its Direct Debit payments function to GoCardless in Sweden, Germany, and Austria. Today, 35% of global bank-to-bank payments are now taken through GoCardless, and that figure rises to 90% in Sweden, Germany, and Austria.
Migrated in days, with minimum delay
The decision to migrate such a critical business system was not taken lightly, with the NRC concerned about interrupting revenue or even losing mandates in the changeover. But these concerns were quickly allayed by a winning combination of leading technology and engaging the GoCardless Premium Customer Success Team to help them with implementation, existing mandate migration, and day-to-day support.
“The GoCardless customer success team really simplified the bulk migration of payment mandates from our previous provider,” explains Brage.
The solution’s well-defined API allowed data and payments to flow seamlessly between our internal CRM system and the GoCardless interface, further streamlining the migration. We didn't lose a single mandate in the migration.”
The intelligent approach to failed payments
Maximizing the chance of success when retrying failed payments is vital to ensuring that the flow of funds is not interrupted. By adopting Success+ from GoCardless, NRC has transformed the way it collects failed payments.
Success+ uses GoCardless’ payment intelligence data and machine learning to reduce failed payments. It does this thanks to intelligent retries, which identify when each donor is most likely to have funds in their account, and automatically retries payments on that day.
“We went for Success+ because of the machine learning component, which figures out when a retry is most likely to succeed,” said Brage. “Previously, we just hit retry as soon as we could, basically chucking attempts at the wall. Success+ takes a more finessed approach, but without any intervention – that’s the real added value. We’ve achieved a 7% increase in recapturing failed payments compared to just retrying – that’s more money for helping displaced people.”
As an automated recovery process, Success+ reduces the time spent chasing failed payments by 64%, and 70% of Success+ users report improving customer relationships since they no longer have to chase late payments.*
More widely, adopting GoCardless has enabled NRC to reduce the time spent on payments administration with an automated, low-touch payments platform that helps bring money in while lowering costs.
GoCardless saves us 50-60 hours on payment admin and reconciliation every month, so it really helps ensure we meet our mission of at least 90% of all of the funds we raise reaching people in need."
A close working relationship
GoCardless and NRC work closely together to ensure that NRC is being as intelligent and efficient with its payments as possible.
“Our GoCardless customer success team has become an extension of our team — always finding out how they can help and pushing us forward to enhance the value we deliver,” said Brage. “As a charity, this is so important as it helps us to focus our resources in the places we will make the most difference to those in need.”
Overall, this has left the NRC feeling confident that it now has a payments platform capable of supporting growth while keeping costs low.
“The larger we grow, the more value GoCardless will bring to us as a trusted outsourcing partner providing vital revenue security,” said Brage. “Between Success+ and the savings GoCardless delivers in terms of administration costs, we’re better placed than ever to ensure the vital funds we raise are getting to where they are needed most.”
*Source note: GoCardless customer survey, 2020