The Role of Data in Mission Readiness

Step 1: Ensure Your Funding Is In Order

It seems you can’t turn on the news lately without seeing a new natural disaster. From volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala to 7+ magnitude earthquakes in Mexico and Papa New Guinea, 2018 has been full of them. And with hurricane season just beginning, disaster response preparedness is top-of-mind.

Whether responding to natural disasters or ensuring our military is ready for the next war, the premise is the same: have the right people and equipment in the right place at the right time.

In the first part of our three-part readiness series, we’ll look at budget – an often overlooked, albeit critical, component of readiness. It might not be the sexiest readiness topic, but without it, we wouldn’t have resources to deploy in the first place. It underpins our ability to deploy the right people, at the right place, at the right time.

For Federal agencies, that means the ability to understand (and influence) congressional appropriations and agency-level budget allocations. For non-profit humanitarian aid organizations, it means having the ability to attract and retain donors.

Team Rubicon, a non-profit that unites military veterans with first responders in the wake of large-scale natural disasters, recognized the power of analytics to strengthen public confidence. Following Hurricane Harvey, donations and volunteers poured into the organization—doubling their annual budget and increasing their volunteer staff by 20k in a matter of weeks.

With growth comes responsibility—donors and citizens alike wanted to know where the money was going. In response, the organization made a commitment to respond with full and complete transparency, sharing all activity and every dollar spent.

David Burke, VP of Programs and Field Operations, recalls “We asked a different tech partner to get that information public, and it was a challenge. That first attempt just wasn’t successful.”

Shortly thereafter, they began working with Qlik to make their vision of transparency a reality. I’m pleased to say that the outcome of their second attempt was a success. Check it out for yourself:

“To be able to tell a donor exactly where their dollar went is massive,” Burke said. “We pushed transparency to a level that most nonprofits aren’t comfortable with.” But the unintended consequence was equally exciting. By raising the bar on transparency, they also increased donor satisfaction with a whopping 83 Net Promote Score (for context, scores over 70 are rare and considered “world class”).

Transparency aside, having a strong handle on budget enables organizations like Team Rubicon to ensure that they have the right people and equipment in the right place at the right time. It’s the foundation of mission readiness.

This week, @Hgittings highlights how @TeamRubicon is using Qlik to safe guard a side of disaster relief that's often overlooked, ensuring transparency of donations!

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