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Make-A-Wish Arizona brings hope when needed

How Make-A-Wish Arizona is using Salesforce to bring hope and laughter to more children than ever before

Forty years ago, Make-A-Wish started in Arizona, where the first ever wish was granted. Since then, Make-A-Wish Arizona has granted more than 6,500 wishes to children with critical illnesses while the organization as a whole has expanded its reach to more than 500,000 wish kids around the globe.

The Make-A-Wish vision is to provide wishes to every child in need of hope when they need it most. At a practical level, that means taking less time to approve and plan a wish. To this end, Make-A-Wish Arizona embarked on a journey with Salesforce and Traction on Demand that would empower their staff and volunteers to more efficiently and effectively plan and conduct wish journeys.

The complexity of a wish

Every wish granted to a child with a critical illness requires elaborate planning and a lot of work behind the scenes. It can take a wish anywhere from 3-6 months to proceed from referral, and 3-9 months to complete the wish journey. Volunteers and staff need to gather signed forms and documents, interview wish children and their family members, and plan the wish (which encompasses everything from celebrity wrangling, travel itineraries, budgeting and even construction work, depending on the type of wish).

Make-A-Wish Arizona had implemented Salesforce previously but the system wasn’t configured in alignment with their organizational model. This created additional work for end-users while a complex data model limited their ability to report on key metrics.

I think of where we were four years ago, printing and filing paperwork... and now we’re all online. I’m so glad we went through this transition.Marissa Astrain, Director of Wish Delivery

“Keeping your end goal in mind can really help motivate you over the course of a long and difficult project, and the Make-A-Wish team was able to keep us connected to the concrete goals we were working towards. Each sprint was dedicated to and named after a wish kid, allowing us to rally around our objectives and really feel the impact of our work.” — Stephen Rathjev, Lead Cloud Technologist, Traction on Demand

Additionally, the Make-A-Wish Arizona team was looking to streamline two of the more process-heavy aspects of wish journeys: volunteer onboarding and form collection. There were seven different gates throughout the onboarding process, which was time-consuming for staff and volunteers at both ends of the process. Meanwhile, there was no standardized process for collecting and tracking different forms (liability forms, legal forms, etc.), making it difficult for staff and volunteers to tell whether they had all requisite documentation.

Planning a personalized wish journey from a single screen

In partnership with Traction on Demand, the Make-A-Wish Arizona team reconfigured Salesforce to better fit their organizational model. That meant reducing complexity for end-users so that the platform could help them accomplish day-to-day tasks more effectively. Now, staff and volunteers can access all data relevant to a wish in a single consolidated Case record. For example, Make-A-Wish Arizona’s new form tracker (built from Lightning components) allows them to efficiently gather and track all forms on the Case record.

image of a computer

The Make-A-Wish Arizona team can easily track required signatures and manage wishes at each stage of the journey.

The project team also leveraged Lightning Flows to build a guided process for wish interviews. When volunteers meet with wish children and their families, they are guided through the interview process, which ensures they are able to gather all the information that might be needed to plan a wish (everything from the child’s favourite foods to logistical information). Volunteers can even work on the form simultaneously from different rooms in the house — while one interviews the child, the other can interview the family, for a less time-intensive and more natural conversation.

Providing the hope they need, when they need it

Through Salesforce, the Make-A-Wish Arizona team has access to all the data they need in a single centralized hub. This achieves two major objectives that enable Make-A-Wish Arizona to better drive towards their mission:

  1. More efficiently complete wish journeys by ensuring staff and volunteers can find what they need at any stage of the journey.
  2. Find more opportunities to personalize every wish journey to each individual child, for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

“It’s been a difficult journey, but every step of the way things have improved and gotten better. I think of where we were four years ago, printing and filing paperwork—each wish kid had a folder with all of their items in it—and now we’re all online. I’m so glad we went through this transition,” says Director of Wish Delivery Marissa Astrain.

Instead of a folder, each wish now has its own record in Salesforce. Any staff or volunteer member can jump into the wish with full context, for a more seamless transition from one stage of the journey to another. And, opportunities for personalization are less likely to slip through the cracks. Volunteers receive birthday reminders, for example, and can take the time to send out a birthday card to each wish kid.

The future is bright for Make-A-Wish Arizona

Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, Make-A-Wish Arizona continues to lead by example for the rest of the organization. Now that they’ve found a scalable solution, the other sixty U.S. Make-A-Wish chapters are adopting Salesforce to reach more children around the world. Visit the Make-A-Wish Arizona website to find out how you can help as they enter their fifth decade! Read our recent blog for more details about the Make-A-Wish story.

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