The Wales Air Ambulance Charity has begun an innovative digital transformation programme that will help it raise funds more effectively, build employees’ and volunteers’ digital skills and reduce its environmental impact.   

The first digital initiative to be introduced, designed and delivered in partnership with Arvato CRM Solutions, involves the automation of the Charity’s in-house ‘Lifesaving Lottery’. Arvato has combined its finance process expertise with robotic process automation (RPA) technology to create digital workers that mimic how human employees would interact with the Charity’s lottery system.  

Mandy Dunell, the Charity’s Lottery Administration Manager, said: “Historically, I was required to manually update and manage two separate systems. This was an incredibly time-consuming process that took me away from valuable personal engagement with Charity supporters. 

“The technology now automatically inputs and updates players’ data into the lottery and direct debit systems, and generates sign-up letters and direct debit forms, which it then sends by email. It also actions daily BACS reports, helps to maintain the Charity’s payment records, runs the lottery draw and generates letters for the winners.”   

So far, the new automated system has reduced the time spent by Wales Air Ambulance employees on daily BACS reports by 50%, and cut time spent on adding new members to the lottery system by up to 92%. By sending new member letters by email, instead of post, the system is more environmentally friendly and will save the Charity thousands of pounds every year. 

Sue Barnes, Chief Executive, Wales Air Ambulance Charity, said: “It’s vital that we make our systems and processes as efficient as possible so that every pound we receive from the community has the biggest possible impact in our lifesaving work. Put simply, the more time and money we save running the Charity, the more we can dedicate to keeping our helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.  

“Technology will be key to achieving this and that’s why it’s a significant part of our new strategy. We are innovative in the medical service that we deliver and we are keen that this innovation is embedded in every area of the Charity, and in everything we do.  

“As well as supporting our lifesaving service, it is also an investment in our employees and volunteers. Arvato is approaching our transformation as a true partner – working closely with our team to help us identify where we can unlock the largest benefits, as quickly as possible, and training our team so that we have the knowledge to run these technologies ourselves.”  

Debra Maxwell, CEO, Arvato CRM Solutions, said: “Wales Air Ambulance Charity, as with so many other third-sector organisations, has the fundamental need to do the most it can with limited resources. Through its ambitious digital transformation strategy, it is leading the way in showcasing how the not-for-profit sector, and public-facing services in general, can use technology to achieve this.  

“This partnership gives us the opportunity to leverage our experience with organisations from central government to global brands and media companies to help Wales Air Ambulance Charity identify and make the changes that will deliver the biggest possible impact. We’re looking forward to seeing what the results of our partnership will deliver next.”  

The Charity’s digital transformation programme has been identified as an example of best practice by Welsh Government.  

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for digital services, said: “This is great news for Wales’ air ambulance service. The use of innovative digital solutions will help employees work more efficiently and bring environmental benefits, while cost savings linked to digitalisation will maximise Charity funds directly towards saving lives.”  

The Charity is currently exploring further opportunities to apply new technologies – such as automation and artificial intelligence – across the organisation, to deliver increased efficiency and new learning and development opportunities for its employees.  

Arvato’s partnership with Wales Air Ambulance Charity builds on a number of recent and ongoing digital transformation projects for the business.   

This includes current work with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA) to transform its customer experience offering, implementing new ways of working and technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation to promote self-service, and a partnership with global entertainment company Fremantle, which resulted in saving its team hundreds of hours by applying digital transformation to its key finance processes.