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Community-Focused Enterprise Platform Modernization

Icon - Dakota Medical Foundation

The Customer

Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF) is a prominent healthcare organization known for its dedication to addressing societal health problems and enhancing the quality of life for individuals in North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota.

The Project

Modernizing the Enterprise Platform to Benefit the Community


Dakota Medical Foundation also hosts the annual “Giving Hearts Day” (GHD)—a 24-hour give-a-thon—to benefit charities across North Dakota and parts of Northern Minnesota. In 2022, GHD helped raise over $26 million from 40,714 donors, up from 2021 donations of over $21 million from 41,955 donors, and 2020 donations of more than $19 million from 34,565 donors.

The Challenge

Dakota Medical Foundation’s goal is to maximize donations to benefit the community while keeping overhead costs to a minimum. The organization has a lot of creative ideas to increase donor participation on Giving Hearts Day that require software solutions but they do not have a full-time development staff. The success of Giving Hearts Day has put greater demands on their IT architecture, especially on the day of the event. The requirements of the website are extensive; it has to accommodate a huge increase in traffic, each donation needs to be checked and verified, and donations need to be processed quickly and efficiently so that donors have a simple transaction.

Amanda Sayre

Assistant Director of Giving Hearts Day, Dakota Medical Foundation
Headshot - Amanda Sayre
Improving helped us flesh out our creative ideas and then make them work. Last year, they helped us implement gift card and URL code programs, and our community really benefitted from the additional donations that were generated. We know our ideas are in good hands with the Improving team.

The Solution

Since 2015, Improving has focused on updating the platform to improve scalability and reliability. Improving enhanced the platform through extensive refactoring of the existing Node.JS API and two separate Ember.JS apps. This solution facilitates the large applications and scalability required on this one day of extremely high traffic.

To help manage the continuing increase in donor and charity participation, Improving developed a multi-tenancy capability where each new charity with Giving Hearts Day is set up with a separate backend database schema so that data will be isolated between clients. This allows the server and client codebase to be deployed with minor code modifications. The Improving UX/UI team focused on overall search and checkout feature improvements, resulting in a smoother user experience and record-breaking donation totals.

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The Business Benefits

Dakota Medical Foundation is maximizing functionality and fundraising capability. They are taking advantage of all the interest in giving, ensuring the day goes smoothly and all donations are secure and appropriately distributed. Giving Hearts Day has become the single largest, one-day fundraising event in North Dakota. Improving helps them implement new ideas and improve the performance of their platform to facilitate significant year-to-year increases in participation—including a 36% increase in participation from 2016-2017—making it the biggest annual fundraiser for more than 400 participating charities.

Why Improving?

The Improving team is focused on Dakota Medical Foundation’s business improvement, not just the technical improvements. They’ve found a good balance between making meaningful platform upgrades, keeping costs down, and still adding business value.

Application Modernization

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