WHEN YOU WISH UPON YOUR DATA
HOW ANALYTICS HELPS MAKE-A-WISH® EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA DELIVER MORE LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES
“I wish to have a shopping spree.”
– Mariela, 6
Antonio wished to go to a Duke University basketball game.
For children with critical illnesses, a wish come true has the power to instill hope, strength and inspiration in an uncertain and difficult time. Make-A-Wish employees and donors know this better than anyone.
A new backyard basketball court, made-over bedroom or trip to Disney World can deliver much-needed positive energy to a child in need, their families and their communities.
But it’s more than one special day – the experience creates an uplifting environment that can not only positively impact a child’s emotional wellbeing, but often even their physical health.
Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina helps provide these life-changing experiences to an average of 200 children a year. But the chapter wondered … what if they could make even more wishes come true?
Jaclyn Parker, Chief Operating Officer at Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina
TRACKING TRENDS IN THE DATA
With the small staff and limited resources that most non-profit organizations experience, Make-A-Wish Eastern NC needed a new and different way to explore this question. So, they turned to data.
SAS applied analytics to both sides of the Make-A-Wish business – mission delivery and donations. By better understanding trends in historical data, the team hoped to predict future wishes and ensure more children can receive their ideal wish.
“We wanted to answer questions like ‘What are main wish types?’ and ‘What are trends in wish cost?’” said Jaclyn Parker, Chief Operating Officer at Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina. “That allows us to see what wishes are going to increase in cost and lets us know what we can expect to budget for in the future.”
Exploring trends in donor data by geographic region they could better understand where the bulk of their donations were coming from and better strategize donation outreach efforts.
“One area may have a smaller number of donors but is bringing in a larger amount of dollars per donor,” Parker said. “We want to know that.”
By applying analytics to its massive wish and donor data sets that date back to 1986, the organization can now more confidently explore answers to these questions – in a simple, yet dynamic dashboard that lets them visually drill into specific wishes, costs and both in-kind and cost donations in a given year.
MAPPING OUT MAXIMUM SUPPORT
Built-in geomapping features of the dashboard show the team exactly where and how many wishes are taking place in their jurisdiction, as well as what donations are coming from each area.
With the ability to drill into individual counties – and even down to the zip code – the team can see details about wishes that took place there, as well as the total in-kind and cash donations.
This feature provides an easier, more visual way for the team to understand donor patterns and plan for future donation campaigns.
For example, while they heavily target the Triangle region of North Carolina where they are headquartered, the visual data showed an uncovered opportunity – the potential to reach more people in the eastern part of the state to help fund even more wishes.
EXPLORING EXPECTATIONS TO GRANT MORE WISHES
By visualizing the wishes in this way for the first time, Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina now has a more holistic view of its mission in action.
With new features that the organization never had access to before, came new insights that will help shape its success moving forward. It was able to gain confirmation about its predicted most popular wishes, such as trips to Disney World.
But diving into the data also allowed them to uncover some local wish types, such as shopping sprees, that were more popular than expected. Having this information helps with strategic planning, ensuring the ability to help more children experience the hope, joy and strength of a wish come true.
“This analysis was really eye-opening for us,” said Parker. “This information holds tremendous value for both sides of our organization, and ultimately will help us make an even greater impact on the lives of children across our state.”
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
ARE WE PREPARED TO RAISE A GENERATION OF DATA NATIVES?
Gen Zers carry a familiarity with data unlike any generation. But will they be ready to use their data know-how to solve the challenges of the real world?
Curious about SAS and the analytics that empower organizations everywhere?