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Monday, 30 July 2018 13:12

Predictive analytics improving outcomes for children with cancer

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Cancer touches every family, more than any other affliction. Global analytics firm, SAS, has applied its smarts and technology to aiding The Kids’ Cancer Project fund-raising efficiency meaning more money is spent on solutions.

 

It is rare to find a person who does not know someone touched by cancer, whether themselves, a close family member or a friend. It is a class of diseases paying no mind to wealth, influence, social standing, morality or any other aspect of life.

Cancer is terrible at any time, but especially so when it afflicts children. The Kids’ Cancer Project funds research in Australia and internationally, helping children with many types of cancer. Its mission is to support bold scientific research that has the greatest chance of achieving its vision of one hundred percent survival for children with cancer while minimising or eradicating the harmful impacts treatment can bring.

Chief executive and former Wallabies flanker, Owen Finegan, said, “The Kids’ Cancer Project is committed to improving the outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer, by facilitating access to cutting-edge clinical trials, and promoting other quality research.”

These trials and research can only exist with large-scale funding, and that funding is primarily achieved via generous donations. The Project’s fundraising team had a database of about 1.3 million donors, though 300,000 were inactive.

SAS volunteered to become involved with the Kid’s Cancer Project, under its Data for Good movement. Under this program, SAS applies its leading analytics software solutions and its data science specialist staff to humanitarian issues such as poverty, health, human rights and education. Another local Australian example is the Black Dog Institute, where SAS’ work contributes to combatting depression and mental illness.

Specifically, SAS implemented its data cleansing, data mining and data analysis toolkits to map out a program to re-activate dormant donors, enlist new donors, increase the ratio of regular-to-occasional donors, overcome duplicated records, and minimise list churn.

These are significant outcomes for any organisation, but especially so for a charitable endeavour where every dollar not spent on administration is another dollar that can be spent on the true purpose and mission, directly helping children with cancer.

David Bowie, vice-president of SAS Australia and New Zealand, said, “The goal is to help The Kids’ Cancer Project raise more funds, more economically by predicting when and how individual donors should best be approached for optimal results. And by making the overall activity of appeal mailings, call centre canvassing, raffle ticket sales, sponsorships and events highly cost-effective.

“Cost-effectiveness is the key. After all, the less it costs this charity to actually raise money, the more it can contribute to vital research that will lead to the 100% survival rate of children diagnosed with cancer.”

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.