When every krona counts
Almost 70 people receive a dementia diagnosis in Sweden every day, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common. When looking to streamline its processes, Alzheimerfonden saw a need for a payment partner who could help with the time-consuming task of sending invoices and processing payments. Alzheimerfonden chose Arvato, and from the start the cooperation has worked perfectly.
Alzheimerfonden is a fundraising organisation that was founded in 1988. Today, it is one of the largest sources of funding for Swedish dementia research, second only to the state-funded Swedish Research Council.
Where does the money go?
Unlike many other diseases, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is a terminal diagnosis – there is currently no cure. This is why the work of Alzheimerfonden is so important; with more and larger contributions to research, both an inhibitor and a cure may become a reality in the next 5-10 years.
Alzheimerfonden is dependent on gifts, private donations, wills and corporate sponsors, like Arvato, but since 2007 it has also been a beneficiary of Postkodlotteriet (the Post Code Lottery). This organisation is incredibly important for Alzheimerfonden. Below are some of the areas for which the money is used.
Alzheimerfonden’s primary task is to raise money for Swedish dementia research, for example diagnoses, inhibitors, vaccines or cures. Last year, Alzheimerfonden distributed SEK 30 million to Swedish research and a number of care development projects.
“There are many positive results, and there are many talented Swedish researchers who have advanced quite far with diagnoses, and vaccines are coming.”
Liselotte Jansson, Secretary General, Alzheimerfonden
Activities for dementia patients
The brain is a muscle that thrives from activities such as solving crossword puzzles, going to the movies or visiting museums. Over a two-year period, Alzheimerfonden and 88 museums in Sweden ran the project Möten med Minnen (Meetings with Memories), through which residents at memory care facilities could go on guided tours with professional art pedagogues. It was so successful that several museums continued the activity on their own after the project ended.
Alzheimer’s has been gradually appearing in increasingly younger age groups, and there are many young people who are growing up in a family where one parent suffers from dementia. Alzheimerfonden therefore started Unga Anhöriga (Young Relatives), which sponsors summer camps for children and youth to not only interact with others in the same situation but also receive professional help from doctors and psychologists. This initiative has now spread to Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway and other countries.
Training for health care personnel
Taking care of a person suffering from dementia requires special skills. However, few employers offer financial support for employees who want to undergo training. Alzheimerfonden sponsors training courses related to dementia care and offers grants to individuals who would like to complete training to become specialist nurses.
Arvato helped save time and money
Given everything that Alzheimerfonden does, it is easy to imagine that there is a huge staff supporting the organisation, but there is only a staff of six working at the office in Stockholm. It was therefore a top priority for Liselotte Jansson when she took over as Secretary General in 2013 to review all of the organisation’s processes and streamline and outsource them wherever possible.
When Alzheimerfonden began searching for an outsourcing partner for its invoicing, Arvato’s name came up. However, once every krona has been counted and at least 75% of the funds raised have been distributed (Alzheimerfonden has a 90-account), there is little time and money left for long integration projects. Luckily, the two organisations clicked from the start and everything has worked perfectly.
Alzheimerfonden decided to keep its telephone service in-house since some people do not have access to a computer or use the new digital payment methods. Many people are also mourning a loved one and could use an empathetic ear (most of Alzheimerfonden’s employees have family members who suffered or are suffering from dementia). However, the administration of memorial donations, and the invoicing in particular, was time-consuming.
Before Arvato stepped in, Alzheimerfonden spent a lot of time not only sending invoices but also checking that the invoices had been paid. Sending out reminders was also a delicate process since the money ultimately was a donation. Arvato listened to Alzheimerfonden’s needs and only sends a soft reminder for the few invoices that are not paid.
Quick facts about Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s was named after the German doctor who discovered the disease at the beginning of the 1900s. Alzheimer’s is not a natural consequence of aging. It is a brain disease that occurs when protein builds up in the plaque, which then destroys the nerve cells and leads to brain atrophy.
Most people who suffer from Alzheimer’s are 65 or older, but the disease can exist for 20 years before symptoms appear. Because the disease is incurable, however, deeper examination or diagnoses will only become viable once an inhibitor or cure has been found.