A cancer diagnosis often leaves patients and family members feeling helpless, anxious, and isolated. Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey helps alleviate those struggles by providing informational and wellness-enhancing resources to the residents of Jersey, a British island just off the coast of France.
“Our vision is that everyone affected by cancer should have access to practical and emotional support, delivered in a way that meets their individual needs,” says Kevin Alway, the charity’s Operations and Communications Manager. “Because Jersey is such a small community, this work hits even closer to home for all of us.”
Macmillan Jersey is building even stronger connections with clients and financial donors, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, using data-driven insights generated by the Alteryx Analytic Process Automation (APA) Platform. Alway says Alteryx has transformed Macmillan Jersey’s strategic planning, communications, resource allocation, and adaptability throughout the pandemic.
“Alteryx has been a game-changer — taking complexity out and allowing us to focus on what’s needed most.”
— Kevin Alway, Operations and Communications Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey
Pandemic sparks data management overhaul
Prior to 2020, Macmillan Jersey collected most of the data about its clients and programs in handwritten forms or Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Compiling those snippets of information into a report took hours of staff time — or sometimes didn’t happen because of other priorities. With an incomplete picture of who was using its services and how effectively it was meeting their needs, the organization lacked focus.
When social-distancing restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic forced Macmillan Jersey to suspend nearly all in-person programs and services, it faced another uphill battle: staying connected with clients who now had to rely on phone calls or videoconferencing for support.
“We knew that people were going to need us to reach out to them more often and, in many cases, provide our services differently while people were shielding at home,” Alway says. “That made data analysis even more vital in helping us learn as much as possible about the patients and family members who come to us for support.”
The pandemic also affected fundraising for Macmillan Jersey, which had relied heavily on donations from attendees at in-person events. Again, the charity saw a valuable opportunity to create more successful online giving campaigns based on data about its past and present donors.
“Having these insights behind our decision-making changes the way that we operate as a charity. We’ve been able to regain control and get much clearer on where to put our resources.”
— Kevin Alway
Fortunately, the capabilities that Macmillan Jersey sought were mostly in place already. The charity had received a free Alteryx license in 2019 through the Alteryx for Good program, which supports a broad range of nonprofit organizations in using data analytics to advance their missions.
Alway worked with Jersey-based technology consultants from Continuum, which specializes in Alteryx implementations, to roll out the software platform in early 2020. At the outset of the pandemic, Continuum helped further customize Alteryx APA to address the charity’s evolving requirements.
“(Continuum founder) Dan Hare and his team have been a vital resource for us,” Alway says. “They made sure we had all of the building blocks in place to keep using Alteryx across our operations prior to us going into lockdown.”
He also credits the Alteryx for Good user community with helping Macmillan Jersey clear various technical hurdles along the way. “We’ve been hugely lucky to have such great support and guidance,” Alway says.
Pathways to more personalized support
Using Alteryx APA, Macmillan Jersey analyzes data points from every client interaction across the charity’s programs and services. Alway and his colleagues also run similar analyses of Macmillan Jersey’s fundraising campaigns. The team was immediately impressed by how seamlessly Alteryx linked information from the charity’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, Excel spreadsheets, and other sources to reveal previously unseen trends.
“Now it’s much easier for us to look at the demographic traits of people who come into contact with us through various channels and understand which of our offerings appeal to different groups,” Alway says.
For example, data analytics performed in Alteryx recently helped Macmillan Jersey recognize that The Lounge, its bookshop and café, is most popular among younger people. Conversely, Alway has found that the charity’s Facebook and Twitter posts tend to attract an older demographic.
“That’s a huge boost to us in planning our events and targeting our messages to appeal to different audiences,” he says. “It’s moving us closer to our ultimate goal of ensuring that everyone here in Jersey knows they can come to us for support.”
Macmillan Jersey also uses insights generated through Alteryx to align its marketing and fundraising efforts more tightly. “We’ve been able to really drill down into what times during the year people are fundraising for us, and then make sure we are getting the word out through all of our channels,” Alway says. “That generates greater income for the charity so we can keep expanding our services and reaching more people.”
Impact of charity’s work stands out
With the in-depth and easily accessible data intelligence that Alteryx provides, Macmillan Jersey can illustrate its positive impact in
crystal-clear detail. Up-to-date statistics from across the organization—such as the number of clients served, volunteer hours logged, workshops presented, and donations raised—are available in minutes.
“I created our latest annual report at least 30 hours faster than last year,” Alway says. “Plus, it paints an even compelling picture of what we do in this community.”
“With Alteryx, I can just click a button to get the answers I need and create a final product that looks great. It’s the joy of having a tool that works for you instead of you working for it.”
— Kevin Alway
Improved operational reporting through Alteryx also helps guide day-to-day decisions on where to focus Macmillan Jersey’s budget and staff. “It gives us this complete overview of the areas where we need more volunteers or other resources,” Alway says. “As managers, we’re able to put more time and focus toward supporting the people who rely on our services.”
Macmillan Jersey’s long-range goals include tying additional data sources into its Alteryx APA Platform and CRM environment as the charity continues to grow.
“Alteryx has enabled us to deliver our services so much better during the pandemic,” Alway says. “Now that we have this foundation in place, we can stay even more focused on making people’s time at Macmillan Jersey as helpful and pleasant as possible.”
Nonprofits: interested in learning more about the Alteryx For Good program? Apply here.