For men across Australia seeking to change their abusive and violent behavior, the first step is often a conversation with a professional counselor at the Men’s Referral Service. Operated by No to Violence (NTV), the Men’s Referral Service fielded nearly 7,000 inbound phone calls and webchats along with more than 57,000 police referrals during its 2020 fiscal year, connecting perpetrators of family violence with support to help confront this issue.
To meet the demand for its intervention services, professional training resources, and advocacy efforts intelligently and efficiently, NTV needs an unobstructed view of data flowing throughout the organization. That visibility — and the means to pull cohesive insights out of disparate information — happens in the Alteryx Analytic Process Automation (APA) Platform.
“Alteryx has helped us become a more responsive organization,” says Ali Wilson, NTV’s data analyst. “We rely on this software to manage our day-to-day operations in a really consistent way and see opportunities to improve our services.”
Spreadsheet-based Reporting Kept Staff in Dark on Trends
As the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down many businesses and public-sector organizations, incidents of family violence rose sharply in many Australian communities. NTV saw its call volumes spike by more than 30% over the past year and has received more requests from government agencies to expand the nonprofit’s outreach.
That growth coincided with NTV’s rollout of Alteryx APA through the Alteryx for Good program, which provides free software licenses and other support for nonprofit organizations. Before going live on the platform in early 2020, NTV had struggled to progress beyond merely reporting data, such as the number of calls received each week or the average time that counselors spend with each caller.
“We captured most of those details in Excel but didn’t have an easy way to quantify trends or analyze why something might be changing,” Wilson says. “One of my colleagues would spend half a day each week churning out just the basic reports that were required for our government contracts.”
With all of NTV’s data consolidated in Alteryx, reporting takes only a minute or two to complete.
“We just push a button and those reports come out consistently every single day. That means I can spend more of my time looking at the trends behind the numbers.”
— Ali Wilson, Data Analyst, NTV
Even though the nonprofit is serving more clients and collaborating with a broader range of partners, its administrative overhead has stayed relatively flat.
“As demand has grown, we’ve been able to see a lot more clearly how we can adjust and shift our resources around,” he says. “We are providing more services than ever before, and having accessible data supports our ability to effectively deliver this important work.”
Tools Bring Client Experiences and Needs Into Clearer Focus
One challenge in serving the men who contact NTV for help is that they might not share the full extent of their struggles with violent or abusive
behavior. Also, clients don’t always disclose their current or past involvement with other agencies and programs.
“Our counselors want to ensure that both the men and their families are safe and secure,” Wilson says. “To do that we need to see as much of the picture as possible.”
Improved data analysis has helped NTV collaborate more effectively with its local and regional partners in understanding their shared clients’
issues and needs. “We can compile and share information that allows us to track the same individual across multiple services,” Wilson says.
As a result, NTV counselors, as well as workers in other service across the sector, are more fully informed — and thus better equipped to provide support — as an intervention unfolds. “Being able to understand the full scope of a person’s experience has been really important for us,” he says.
Also, the ability within Alteryx to spot evolving trends by geographic area—such as which cities or neighborhoods had significantly more callers than usual during a given month — is helping NTV gain stronger local support for its services.
“Our biggest breakthrough has been the ability to analyze data more proactively and on the fly. We’re more responsive to the needs of the men we work with and to the organizations we support.” — Ali Wilson, Data Analyst, NTV
Analytical Possibilities Keep Unfolding
Now that Alteryx handles almost all of the heavy number crunching for NTV, Wilson and his colleagues are eager to unlock even more of the
software’s powerful analytical capabilities. For example, the nonprofit is starting to track how external events such as public holidays or media coverage on family violence issues affect calls to the service. Understanding these demand drivers more fully will help NTV manage resourcing more effectively and advocate for increased funding to meet the demand from the community.
“Our senior managers are a lot more excited about the possibilities within data now,” he says. “Every time we share something new that came out of our Alteryx platform, people see other opportunities and the to-do list continues to grow.”