Data Strategy 101

Extra Credit: Convening Your Data Champions

The third lesson in our Data Strategy 101 series is all about developing a cross-channel data strategy.

After completing the first two steps we outline in that lesson, you should have:

  • A list of all the engagement touchpoints for your audiences mapped back to why those touchpoints support your organization’s objectives
  • A list of all the data sources generated by those touchpoints

The third step in creating effective cross-channel data strategy is to make it your mission to seek out your most important data and the people who care about it. Make it a regular part of your day, and theirs, to articulate the useful value of your data. But most importantly, gather together to define use cases for using data to increase engagement!

We find that the most effective way to do this is by gathering that data and those people in a workshop setting. Convening the data champions in one room, where you can all brainstorm and discover the data possibilities together, creates forward momentum that is easier to maintain over time because your team will feel personally invested in its success. We routinely lead such sessions with mission-driven organizations like yours. Our favorite thing about them is the “Light bulb” moments that happen as people start to look across departments and data sources and realize the amazing opportunities for engaging your audiences.

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Here’s how we’d go about conducting this group session:

When gathering your data champions and other leading practitioners in your organization, choose individuals with both institutional expertise and curious drive to improve engagement. This group should cut across departmental silos, and should likely include different levels of staff, from practitioners to directors.

Ask everyone in the group to:

  • Pick one audience -> interaction pairing that they know a lot about, or are excited to improve. For instance, Jane, a Development Manager, might pick “Donors -> In-Person Events”.
  • Look at the available data points around that interaction. In Jane’s case, she will likely see data points for: Event RSVP’s, Event Attendance, Email engagement, and Donation metrics.
  • For 2-3 of the data points, brainstorm ways to use that data to improve the interaction with that audience. Jane, inspired by “Event RSVP’s” and “Event Attendance” as metrics, notes that all too often individuals will register for an event, but not end up attending. She wonders if there is a way to send special emails to individuals who frequently register but don’t attend events.

Bar Indicating new sectionAfter everyone has come up with ideas, have each person present their idea and discuss with the group, encouraging questions like the following:

  • If we were able to track this data and use it in the way described, how would our organization ultimately benefit? 
  • How would the audience benefit?
  • What internal groups would find this data valuable?
  • Do we currently get reports about this data that would allow us to act on it?
  • Are there any clear obstacles to preventing us from getting, or acting on this data?

In exploring these questions as a group, you will begin to generate a list of high-value use cases for your cross-channel data strategy and understand current blockers to realizing them.

Bar Indicating new sectionKeep it rolling…

From there, you can continue by shopping these use cases around to the different organizational groups, leaders (and budget holders!) who would benefit from them.

With clear, valuable use cases in hand, you will be strongly firming up the “Excellence” aspect of the framework, emphasizing that the ultimate value of data is its ability to improve your organization’s ability to engage with its audiences and impact the world.

Bar Indicating new sectionWant more?

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