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An international federated nonprofit dedicated to saving the planet shifted its focus to saving time — time it was wasting on manual data collection and reporting processes. 

For starters, the nonprofit was burdened by an antiquated on-premise IT architecture that conspired to scatter its data across a range of disconnected systems and spreadsheets, creating silos within and between countries and making it all but impossible to gauge key performance indicators (KPIs) like total giving received, how giving breaks down between one-off donors and regular financial contributors (a.k.a. “sustainers”), supporter churn, etc. 

The organization was also grappling with:

  • Twenty different data teams working in isolation
  • Minimal adoption of advanced analytics and data science
  • Low but variable data maturity between departments and between countries
  • Global reporting on quarterly or annual cycles

Even more challenging, the rules of the organization’s federated network model declare each of its international offices legally independent, with no global management hierarchy or formal processes to enforce standards, meaning decisions are made by more than two dozen regional stakeholders. 

What could the nonprofit do to standardize its data and slash time spent on manual reporting tasks? It turned to Civis Analytics for answers.

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Civis Platform is a cloud-based data management platform that makes it easy for nonprofits, advocacy groups, and other mission-driven organizations to import, transform, analyze, and report on their data. Platform allows stakeholders throughout the organization to collaborate in a centralized environment to more quickly generate data-driven solutions, and to close the loop on measurement, activation, and attribution.

Federated nonprofits can leverage Platform to unify disparate datasets in a single platform to create reporting metrics, standardized reports, and dashboards. Platform also affords these organizations the flexibility to work with any source system, as well as access to curated data sets.

The environmental nonprofit partnered with Civis to design a data architecture that addresses its operational needs, not its organizational structure, with an emphasis on: 

  • Enabling data sharing across its global network 
  • Reducing costs and duplication of work
  • Unifying its data strategy across its myriad fundraising, engagement, web, campaigns, and social initiatives 

Civis worked with the nonprofit to bring each office’s raw fundraising and marketing data into Platform, and to automate transformations to build and refresh reports. Civis also hosted on-site onboarding sessions to train affiliate data teams on using Platform to achieve analytics goals, customizing these sessions according to each office’s technical expertise and familiarity with data tools.

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Civis Platform reinvented how the environmental nonprofit conducts business by enabling the development of a federation-wide analytics community. A hub-and-spoke model ensures timely, accurate access to standardized data while emphasizing interdependency and co-ownership among regional stakeholders, allowing data teams to embrace coordination and collaboration.

The organization’s central hub now monitors KPIs across its entire affiliate network, overseeing all data integration and ingestion responsibilities while assigning analytics/data science and reporting/insights duties to the regional offices (an approach that eliminates manual reporting chores, saving staffers significant staff time). Additional benefits of this “virtual federation” model and shared data platform include:

  • Shared compute/storage resources 
  • Reuse of code/tools
  • Easy sharing of data between entities
  • Sharing of specialized staff
  • Simplified integration to other products

Three years into the project, the nonprofit has deployed Civis Platform in 23 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and its global data staff now tops 120 members. With its data unified and its reporting processes transformed, the organization can go back to doing what it does best: creating solutions for a peaceful, environmentally sound future.

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