The Salvation Army Switzerland, as a church and social non-profit organisation, has set itself the goal of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and alleviating human need. In Switzerland, the free church has been active since 1882. In the meantime, the Salvation Army is widely represented in German and Western Switzerland, with 36 social institutions and 56 parishes, and is one of the ten largest donor organisations in Switzerland.
The non-profit organisation had set itself the goal in the field of fundraising of professionalising the handling of data on donors and fundraisers. “Previously, generating and processing key figures was inconsistent and took place at various locations via a database and various Excel solutions,” explains Holger Steffe, Head of Fundraising a.i., Foundation Salvation Army Switzerland. “Instead, we wanted to create a place where all key figures are stored and can be retrieved easily by the area managers.”
To find the right BI solution, the Salvation Army first defined a list of requirements. These included, among other things, the connectivity of any desired data source and the availability of graphical elements for data visualisation. In addition, the non-profit organisation placed value on a dedicated authorisation concept in order to precisely control who has access to what data. “A very important factor was the opportunity to comment on figures,” adds Steffe.”
In the end, three solutions made it to the shortlist. “We then looked for local partners who could implement the tool with us and invited them to a proof of concept. We wanted to see on-site what the solution could do and what the IT service provider's understanding was of us as a non-profit organisation.”
The tasks assigned to the service providers included the creation of a balanced scorecard on the basis of given key figures and graphic elements, as well as the implementation of an action analysis with year-on-year comparison over the last five years.
Informatec made the best impression, with their QlikView solution. The Basel-based IT service provider specialises in business intelligence solutions. As Qlik Elite Solution Provider, Informatec realises projects based on QlikView and Qlik Sense. They particularly focus on sophisticated small and medium-sized enterprises as well as major clients.
After six months, the fundraising application could be used productively. “We needed a bit of pre-production to provide the data in the form and quality we wanted. This was due to the increased coordination effort between the various providers of our IT systems. Among other things, a fundraising-specific database based on SQL is used. It took time, but it helped us a lot to understand our data better and also to recognise and correct data quality problems,” emphasises Steffe.
The trueChart add-on allows the desired commenting on fundraising actions. The QlikView extension meaningfully represents all relevant business transactions in dynamic structures according to the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS formerly HICHERT® SUCCESS). Analyses can be easily linked and centrally controllable annotations inserted, which in turn can be linked with all application components as desired.
Steffe is very satisfied with the support for data modelling and the application development by Informatec: “Both the technical know-how and the understanding of us as a fundraiser are enormously important to us. Once or twice a month, we have discussions 'live' or via remote sessions.”
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trueChart displays all relevant business transactions in dynamic structures as meaningful according to IBCS. Analysis processes can also be easily linked. Centrally controllable annotations can be inserted and linked to all contents of the BI overview. For example, QlikView-based trueChart dashboards are fast and error-free readable.
Application areas and uses
Around 40 members of the fundraising department use QlikView, as do brocki.ch, the second-hand shops belonging to the Salvation Army.
The fundraising app analyses data on over one hundred thousand donors as well as about 15 actions every year. This includes master data such as the address as well as information concerning who was contacted and how – for example by means of a donation appeal by letter or magazine. How did each action perform? How many new donors did we capture? How many donors did we recapture? These are typical questions for which the Salvation Army can now finds answers.
All relevant revenue figures, a balanced scorecard and all direct marketing campaigns are shown. The application also provides an overview of the donors’ feedback: “We have a donor service that answers all incoming donor requests by email, letter or phone within 48 hours,” explains Steffe.
A seasonal curve indicates whether the revenue targets are being met. “Every year we have a specific revenue target that we want to have reached by 31.12. From previous years, we know how these revenues are distributed monthly. For example, we can look at the seasonal curve to see what percentage of the revenue we will reach in March. If we then see a negative deviation, we can take countermeasures with an additional action and inform the management that things could get tight,” says Holger Steffe.
In addition, the QlikView-based reporting of now active in approximately 20 Salvation Army second-hand shops (brocki.ch) throughout Switzerland.
By using QlikView, the Salvation Army benefits from significantly lower effort for data processing: “We used to take an hour every month for some evaluations, but now it just takes a few seconds,” explains Steffe. The availability of a consistent database (single source of truth) has also increased data transparency and quality. “I find it very helpful to comment on key figures via trueChart,” adds Steffe. “It preserves knowledge beyond mere numbers that we can access at any time and that enables us to further improve our actions and processes.”
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The Salvation Army essentially communicates with their donors by letter – owing to the fact that donors are on average upwards of 60 years old. At the same time, by means of various activities the non-profit organisation is positioning itself in the younger age segments. “We are increasingly using social media channels, for example Facebook,” reports Steffe. “Of course, valuable data also accumulates here, which we want to evaluate using QlikView. We are currently developing a corresponding application for this purpose. We have already implemented the connection to Facebook, Google Analytics and an online payment tool.”
„Employees can focus on working with key metrics by using QlikView and do not have to spend their time generating those numbers.” Holger Steffe, Head of Fundraising ai, Salvation Army Foundation, Switzerland.“ - Holger Steffe, Head of Fundraising a.i., Salvation Army Foundation