Community business intelligence: why data is your superpower

by Sonja Wiencke

by Twine

20th April 2018

‘Business intelligence’ is a term more commonly used in the corporate sector but it’s just as valuable to the charity or community business sector. Simply put, the term is used to describe increasing what you know about your organisation and your customers so you can adapt and improve.

For example, let’s pretend you are running a community centre offering a range of services including a nursery, a knit and natter group to combat isolation, yoga classes, and employment support. To run this community centre successfully, you will be asking yourself a range of questions regularly:

-       Are people satisfied with the services we offer?

-       Who is attending which group, and how often do they come?

-       How could we improve our income streams to become more sustainable?

You can probably see why asking them is important. If you know which bits people like and dislike about your organisation, you can do more of the former and less of the latter. What is more, you can use the data to improve your organisation’s credibility to funders and other external stakeholders.

A good business insight tool should provide you with useful and reliable data in a way that does not require too much your time, efforts or budget. It should present you with actionable insights that will allow you to change how your organisation operates on a day-to-day basis.

There are many ways in which you could get hold of that type of data. You could ask your customers to fill out paper spreadsheets or feedback slips but this is time consuming to process. It would require you to read through illegible notes and type up responses and could inconvenience your customers who must take time out of their day to put thoughts on a piece of paper. It would also present challenges in terms of data analysis.

Our Twine data tool was developed to make business intelligence easy! Using SMS surveys to collect data, it helps you gain insights into your business or organisation in an efficient and reliable way. As a digital tool, it can automatically generate averages, cuts of data, and graphs so you can easily see what aspects of your operations are going well and what needs improvement.

You can run satisfaction surveys to give you an indication of how happy your customers are with your organisation and follow up with the very unhappy ones to find out how you can improve. You could also use our newly developed visitor app to track the demographics of your customers including gender and age. Knowing that information will enable you to target your marketing activity towards the right kind of audience and ultimately improve your sales or trading.

Data can help your charity or community business grow. It really is your superpower!