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Case study

Prison Fellowship

Prison Fellowship Australia is a nonprofit organisation that provides support to inmates and their families across the country. With a network of several hundred volunteers spanning various regions, Prison Fellowship Australia provides both practical and Christian faith-based support (chaplaincy) to inmates. Prison Fellowship’s programs provide companionship and encouragement in what is a lonely and challenging environment. Their primary goal is to foster meaningful interactions with inmates, extending their support beyond prison walls.

They offer assistance to past inmates, aiding them in reintegrating into society to get them back on their feet. Prison Fellowship Australia relies heavily on donations and volunteer support to carry out their mission effectively. While they receive some government grants, particularly in regions like Queensland where chaplaincy services are provided, their operations are largely driven by the dedication of their national team based in Melbourne, supported by state teams throughout the country.

Hello, my name is Thomas*. I have been incarcerated since 2014. I’m writing to you today to express my gratitude for the Angel Tree Christmas gift service you provide for my children.

The Challenge

Prison Fellowship approached Heartburst with a need to increase engagement from supporters, volunteers, and donors while improving productivity within their organisation. The staff were experiencing  difficulties processing data and sought ways to automate repetitive tasks and email communications. They were looking for ways to streamline the onboarding of volunteers via a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Their previous CRM required developers to implement such workflows. 

Prison Fellowship Australia’s old website was built on an outdated version of WordPress. The design did not align with the organisation’s current brand or audience personas. Content organisation was lacking, making it difficult for visitors to navigate and find relevant information. They wanted to enhance the Donor’s user journey by addressing UX flaws on the website and streamlining post-donation communications (i.e. receipts for both deductible gift recipient (DGR) and non-DGR tax purposes). Data insights and reporting were required to measure the impact of their work.

Our solution

Our solution comprised developing a new website and the implementation of a fit-for-purpose CRM to enhance organisational operations and outreach efforts. Virtuous CRM was identified as the best platform to support their business goals. The final outcome included two key projects:

CRM implementation and enhancement:

  • Deployment of Virtuous CRM: Implementing Virtuous CRM across the organisation to streamline donor management, fundraising efforts, and volunteer engagement.
  • Donor Fundraising: Leveraging the capabilities of Virtuous CRM alongside partner product Raise Donors to efficiently identify, nurture, and engage donors to increase donation conversion rates.
  • Volunteer Management: Utilising Virtuous partner product Vomo for volunteer management, ensuring efficient coordination and communication with volunteers to support organisational activities.
  • Integration with Xero via Zapier: Integrating Virtuous CRM with Xero accounting software via Zapier to automate financial processes and ensure seamless data flow between systems.

Website design and development:

  • Discovery Phase: Conducting comprehensive research and analysis to understand user needs, organisational objectives, and technological requirements for the new website.
  • Design Phase: Crafting a visually appealing and user-friendly interface that reflects the organisation’s values and engages visitors effectively.
  • Build Phase: Implementing robust backend infrastructure and frontend design elements to ensure a seamless user experience across devices and platforms.
  • Integration with Virtuous CRM: Seamlessly integrating the website with Virtuous CRM to facilitate efficient data management and donor engagement.


Through these initiatives, we were able to provide the Prison Fellowship staff with a platform that empowers them to effectively engage donors, manage volunteers, and advance their mission with efficiency and excellence. This resulted in positive outcomes in the following areas:

  1. Improved grant management: Transitioned from manual tracking of grant applications to a more organised and streamlined process, enhancing efficiency and accuracy in managing grant-related efforts.
  2. Enhanced automation between fundraising and finance systems: Implemented automation measures to facilitate smoother integration and data flow between fundraising and finance systems, improving overall operational efficiency and accuracy.
  3. Maximised donation opportunities: By addressing conversion rate optimisation, we have streamlined the donation process, making it more user-friendly.
  4. Reduced administrative burden: Through automation and efficient data management practices, administrative workload has been significantly reduced, allowing staff to focus on higher-value tasks and organisational priorities.
  5. Ensured compliance and minimised potential risks: Implemented automated follow-up processes to track and manage Working with Children Check expiry dates, ensuring compliance and mitigating risks associated with expired certifications.

For Dan*, the impact of gentle, well-trained facilitators was felt throughout the course. “I would recommend The Prisoner’s Journey (a Prison Fellowship Australia program) to other inmates because even if it just helps one person, it would be worth it! Before I came to jail, I already wanted to change my life, and since being in prison, TPJ has been a massive support for me. I found having a different perspective on life really helpful. It was good to think about a better way to conduct myself. I really enjoyed the class discussions about Jesus and how he has positively affected us all in different ways.”

Team members from our digital agency for nonprofits

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