How Save the Children Italy’s Valerio De Biasio leverages CRO to help save lives

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Hi Valerio, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! How have you been?

Hi Rommil, I’m doing well. I’m honored to chat with you!

Let’s start off with a bit about yourself. Could you please share with our audience what is it that you do and a bit about your career journey up to this point?

Well, I work in Save the Children Italy since 2017. I was 24 years old when I started the university internship in this NGO. Today I lead the digital optimization strategy of the website. I define action roadmap for implementations to improve conversion rates, I define A/B test hypotheses based on qualitative and quantitative data analysis and I work to find solutions to optimize website and donor conversion rate. Everything began as a gamble. I started working as a web support. Editing photos and videos, creating landing pages, and working with data analytics.

Shortly afterwards I became the referent for donation webforms, like maintenance and development. I became very interested in this area of work so I decided to explore this field , also because I’m passionate about finding problems and resolving them. Save the Children Italy gave me the opportunity to start a process of growth and training, which still continues.

Visit Valerio’s website here:

When people talk about Experimentation or Optimization, they often think about places like Amazon or Microsoft. Could you share with us how Save the Children Italia leverages it?

Great, we’ll go straight to the point! Optimization and NGO, It is a very particular match, isn’t it?…but not so much!

I started my first CRO activities 3 years ago, when in Save the Children Italy we decided to start a new kind of activity, not only debugging or development. We chose to identify and resolve pain points during the customer donor journey.

Well, activities like data analytics, planning, testing, qualitative research etc.. are too similar between non-Profit CRO and profit CRO! Optimization of the donor journey could lead to a better experience for users and make the donation process easier and this is my job and our great goal.

What are some of the major differences between doing CRO for a place like Save the Children and an eCommerce site? Do you find it’s easier or harder?

Hard question…how much time do we have?? : ) There are many differences in many aspects of the work. I’ll talk to you about “Purpose”. For example, “Our” purpose is to save, not to sell. Save the children, save lives and protect rights. Whatever it takes.
It seems obvious but is not …It’s a great motivation, Every day, every time!

Second example is the “user’s purpose”. This Is totally different from the customer’s purpose. Users become supporters, their actions are not self-referential. Users chose to help, they don’t receive anything tangible but are much more satisfying to know doing good.

People who donate don’t want to buy, people who donate want to give! For this reason, optimizing donor flow is very hard but really exciting! You can’t talk about shopping carts and you can’t talk about discounts.

On the other hand there are forms, bounce rates, bias, etc. Every day I need to increase skills levels for this particular audience and at the same time I learn about them and about the CRO process.

I’ve never been to Italy, sadly. Could you tell us what the CRO community is like there?

Oh in this case I’ll wait for you in Rome! Anyway, I know agencies and CRO specialists in Italy. I took part in some events, but last year events have slowed down the possibilities of networking. 

I noticed that you took CXL’s conversion optimization course. Could you share what you thought of that experience and would you recommend it to new CROs?

Of course! I think this is the best opportunity to grow in this new and innovative sector.
You can learn how to build and run optimization programs, improve web, UX and analytics skills. There are different kinds of resources. Video, infographics, slides and they are very structured and useful! It is a very complete course but it’s not very easy  to work and study at the same time. Work is challenging and obtaining a minidegree is long and complex.

For this reason passion and determination are fundamental to move on.

Finally, it’s time for the Lightning Round! Are you a Bayesian or a Frequentist?

I’m Frequentist …but I dream of becoming Bayesian 

If you couldn’t work in Experimentation, what would you do? 

One of my dreams was to work in multimedia productions like TV spots or short video productions….on the other hand probably an Inventor or a craftsman. I like to create and build. I picture myself as a “maker”. 

Describe Valerio in 5 words or less.

Mmm…probably I’d say:

  • Rare-bird. Math Bachelor degree, Master in Communication and CRO lead in NGO, yep I confirm “rare-bird”.
  • Friendly. I make friends easily, and I really care about people around me.
  • Maker. Ever since I can remember I like disassembling and assembling. I like to create useful instruments and tools to simplify day by day life. Finally, it is my way to maintain contact with the “analogic” world.
  • Backpack Addicted. I love backpacks. I like to discover different designs and know innovative material for different purposes.

How has inspired you the most in this field so far?

Surely, I think that my work can help to make a difference one day in the future. This is the best motivation for me! Every step towards the major goal of my organization could lead to tangible help for lots of children so I think this is a good push to work harder and smarter.

Who should Experiment Nation chat with next?
Name? OK, I’d be curious to read Ruben de Boer‘s interview, who is a very CRO Expert and a very nice person!

Thanks so much for chatting with me today!

Thank you too for this opportunity, I really like Experiment Nation, you have a winning strategy to share CRO culture,  keep it up! In Italy we say “Dai Dai Dai!”

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Rommil Santiago