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Data Analytics Helps Amnesty International Belgium

4/06/2015 by Sharon Shahzad


The international human rights organization uses data analytics to examine donor behavior patterns, tailor messages and gauge the effectiveness of campaigns.

It's no secret that nonprofit organizations face many of the same challenges as for-profit businesses. However, they also must operate on tight budgets and focus on putting every dollar to work—while coping with fluctuating donation levels.

At Amnesty International, which documents human rights violations and seeks justice around the world, managing data is a challenge. "It is important to communicate well and ensure that we're reaching out and marketing in the most efficient and effective way possible," says Ilja De Coster (in photo at left), in-house fundraising consultant for Amnesty International Belgium, Flemish Section.

A couple of years ago, the regional organization had reached a crisis point in the way it manages internal data. It couldn't see what data it had and had no way to put it to use effectively.

"We didn't know what was happening with 20,000 active donors—people who contributed monthly," De Coster recalls. "We didn't have any statistics or analytics, and we couldn't identify trends, including sign-ups and attrition rates."

The result was an inability to design campaigns effectively and reach out to members in the right way. "We were fundraising blind," he says.

Implementing a Data Analytics Platform

As a nonprofit entity that keeps a close eye on every dollar and its return on investment, the Belgian branch of Amnesty International recognized a need to make a change. The result? The organization turned to data analytics platform provider RapidMiner to take its reporting and analytics capabilities into the digital age.

The organization, which has integrated the software with its CRM system via a set of APIs, is now taking a more sophisticated and personalized approach to fundraising. "We are able to design campaigns and reach out to donors in a more streamlined way," De Coster says.

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