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The Challenge

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national membership-driven organization dedicated to fighting climate change was struggling to connect with its millions of supporters — and data silos were to blame. 

With data scattered across various systems and locations, and no single source of truth to inform its decision-making processes, NRDC had insufficient insight into which causes its supporters cared about and which messages moved them to action. At the same time, the environmental advocacy group’s central data and analytics team was grappling with how to most effectively work with different groups across the organization.

Despite previous success in growing its supporter base, NRDC was eager to adopt a more proactive (and less reactive) outreach strategy, confident that more accurate, robust data about its members and the messages resonating with them would strengthen its ability to find and engage like-minded supporters, expand its donor base, and boost funding. Moreover, NRDC executives wanted to lay the groundwork for a more collaborative, data-driven organizational structure, complete with a set of common benchmarks for quantifying campaign success. 

There was one obvious place to turn for assistance: Civis Analytics.

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The Solution

Civis Platform is a cloud-based data management platform that makes it easy for advocacy groups, nonprofits, unions, trade associations, and other membership-based organizations like NRDC to import, manage, transform, analyze, and report on their supporter data. 

Platform’s Identity Resolution (IDR) technology ingests one or more member data sources and finds matches among the records they contain, identifying duplicates within and across sources to determine which sets of records correspond to the same individuals. Platform also leverages Civis’s Basefile, a comprehensive, person-level data set collecting hundreds of variables from trusted data vendors and publicly available data on more than 230 million Americans, to provide a window into demographic, consumer, and voter data. 

By combining Basefile with their own first-party data, membership organizations can discover audiences and develop more precise segments of their current supporter base. Moreover, with their data cleansed and consolidated, these organizations can more actively personalize messaging efforts, improve attribution, and sharpen their understanding of supporter activity and engagement across digital touchpoints.  

Alongside signature features including predictive analytics, integrated Tableau reporting, and Golden PII solutions, Platform additionally allows stakeholders throughout an organization to collaborate in a centralized environment to more quickly generate data-driven solutions, and to close the loop on measurement, activation, and attribution. 

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The Results

Thanks to Platform’s IDR capabilities, NRDC was able to connect individual supporters to the causes they care about most, translating to more proactive, personalized messaging based on their unique responses. The advocacy group can now track supporters’ respective customer journeys, determining which channels they came through as well as the most salient format for engagement. 

NRDC also leveraged IDR to accurately determine the true size of its supporter base — information that had previously eluded its grasp. In addition, it established a data-driven baseline metric of success to track the growth of different types of donors, enabling proactive messaging campaigns to attract like-minded supporters.   

Last but not least, Platform empowered NRDC to develop a centrally-located, multichannel campaign management system, allowing universal access to data insights.

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“By partnering with Civis, we’ve developed a deeper understanding of our donors. We’ve been able to find the best prospects and cultivate long-term donor relationships.”

Director, Insights and Data Strategy
Kate McKenney
Director, Insights and Data StrategyNatural Resource Defense Council

Civis worked closely with NRDC throughout the Platform setup process, including architecting the business rules for how IDR would function and providing data on supporter demographics and information about messaging effectiveness. Civis also teamed with the organization to incorporate system-wide changes guiding how data is stored and used. 

With its data silos dismantled and supporter engagement flourishing, NRDC is now able to shift its focus back to where it belongs: protecting the planet we all call home. 

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