Leveraging Community Analytics to Advance Advocacy Goals

Advocacy groups have a lot of issues competing for their attention. It’s easy to let analytics fall by the wayside, but applying focus to analytics can really help advocacy organizations leverage supporters and meet their goals. The right analytics can help you better understand your community, which is key to effective advocacy.

But how can advocacy groups make sure they’re doing what they need to do best – growing their movement and making an impact? Here are three tips for using analytics to help you understand your supporters and deepen your connections with them.

Create Cohorts

Community analytics cohorts are groups of people who share similar characteristics and interests. They can be identified by demographic data, such as age or gender; by location; or by interests that they self-identify with online. Identifying and segmenting cohorts will be key to understanding your supporters more deeply – who they are and what motivates them. It can also help you make sure you’re reaching the right people with the right message at the right time.

For example, you might find a cohort of twenty-somethings in Washington DC who love indie rock music and enjoy going out for drinks on the weekends. Or you might identify a group of people living in rural areas who are interested in gardening and cooking recipes from scratch. If there’s already an email list for members of your advocacy group, then start there! You’ll want to make sure this list includes only people who fit into one or more relevant community analytics cohorts so that you can target your communications most effectively.

If you’re leveraging a private digital community platform, you can segment member analytics to deliver more personalized messaging. For example: use audience segmentation to send a notification to anyone who has ever donated to your organization, or to any community member who has expressed an interest in volunteering for a specific event. 

Align Your Data

Data alignment is the process of bringing all your data together in one place. It’s a vital step to community analytics, because it allows you to compare and contrast different sources of information, which can then inform decisions about how you move forward.

You can use data alignment to create a single source of truth for your organization’s work–and then share that information with staff and volunteers so everyone can stay informed about what’s happening in the field.

Data alignment can also help you identify gaps in knowledge among staff members who may not be working directly with certain kinds of data – for example, if some staff members are working with financials but not member engagement metrics, it will not give you a clear picture of how you’re engaging and retaining your users. Using data alignment helps you avoid scenarios where incomplete data leads to incorrect hypotheses, which can in turn lead to bad decisions.

Improve Your Community

Analytics are a powerful tool, but they can be even more powerful when used to improve your community. You can use analytics to identify areas for improvement and measure the impact of your work.

Identifying areas for improvement: If you’re using the data to report on progress, then it’s important that you also use it to identify areas for improvement. If there is something that isn’t working as well as it should be–whether it’s low attendance at meetings or high turnover among staff members–you’ll want to know about it so that you can adjust accordingly. The best way of doing this is by comparing current performance with past performance or industry standards (as well as other similar nonprofits).

Measuring impact: Community analytics can also help you measure impact directly, rather than indirectly, through attendance rates or other measures of success – revenue generation or volunteer hours contributed per capita – in comparison with other organizations serving similar populations.

​​Using the right analytics can help you better understand your community. If you want to learn more about the different types of analytics that are available, click here to speak with a Raftr specialist today!