Macmillan Cancer Support sought the help of Felinesoft’s team to reinvent their direct grants process. This project focused on using innovative technologies that would deliver a streamlined and purposeful solution that would have immediate impact on people living with cancer.   

The Client:  

Macmillan Cancer Support provides specialist healthcare, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.  Macmillan's goal is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer in the UK.  

The Challenge:  

In 2018 Macmillan processed over 40,000 financial grants for people living with cancer. These grants provide vital financial assistance to those in significant need for essentials; including heating, clothing and paying household bills. Often, the grants can be sought in quite urgent circumstances where the money, and therefore the relief is required quickly by the person living with cancer.  

Processing these grants has been an entirely manual process; A Macmillan nurse would fill in an application form on behalf of the person living with cancer, this application form would then be posted to Macmillan where another member of the Macmillan team would evaluate the application against a set of criteria and determine whether to award the grant. Following on from that, the information would then be fed into the Macmillan financial system which would ultimately lead to the grant being paid, via cheque, and then be sent directly to the person with cancer.  

Macmillan had about 20 dedicated team members processing 3000 to 4000 grants each week. The process would take between 2 and 4 weeks by the time the person living with cancer would receive their cheque in the post.  

“What we have delivered has been fully collaborative and successful”.

Robin Vaughan - Director of Development and Implementation, Macmillan Cancer Support

What was needed:  

Macmillan wanted to be able to give out more grants but most crucially they wanted to be able to reduce the time between application and receipt of the grant funds. Ideally for the person living with cancer to get a grant paid in days, rather than weeks. In addition, Macmillan also wanted the beneficiary to have the ability to choose between receiving a cheque or to have the funds paid directly into their nominated bank account.  

 What we Delivered: 

Delivery of the new solution effectively focused on 3 main elements;  

  1. A new web front-end which allows the 8000 Macmillan healthcare professionals to complete the grant application form online
  2. The processing of that application into the CRM system 
  3. Pushing the information into the financial system to make sure the grant gets paid, along with a loop back to update the CRM, when the money has been paid out.  

Microsoft Azure cloud services and Dynamics 365 CRM allow Macmillan to store sensitive financial and medical patient information securely and the web portal enables accessibility for healthcare professionals to submit applications in a secure and confidential way, rather than submitting paper application forms.  

Innovative UX and smart auto complete was deployed to ease the emotional cost of having to describe the details of a patient’s cancer status.  

What was the impact 

A person who applies for a Macmillan grant will now receive a decision on whether that grant will be awarded in under 2 days from making the application, rather than within a few weeks. They are also now able to choose between immediate bacs payment, directly into their nominated bank account or to receive a cheque.  

Macmillan are now set up to achieve their goal of giving out more grants to those in need, at the same time benefiting from the ability to better audit and remain compliant with GDPR whilst processing sensitive data.  

There are huge cost savings to removing the manual elements of the process which internally will allow Macmillan to empower their people to deliver more value and impact in other areas.  

The process has also benefited the Macmillan brand reputation; beneficiaries who receive their grants so quickly are impressed and have taken to social media to thank Macmillan for the impact that the grant has had on their own life and journey through cancer. This has enabled Macmillan to generate more awareness which as a charity is one of their main objectives.