Making the Most of Supporter Profiles: A Q&A with Guide Dogs

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association provide mobility and freedom to blind and partially sighted people and they’ve run many successful campaigns through Engaging Networks.

Recently they added on our “supporter profiles” functionality. Helen Honstvet, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs tells us if it was worth the investment.

Q – Why add-on our supporter profiles tool?

A – We want to find out how active our campaigners are, which campaigners are taking multiple actions, and what type of actions people are taking part in. This is because we aren’t sure of our campaigners’ retention rate after they have taken an action with us. We also want to tailor our communications with our supporters more effectively based on their interests.

Q – So you’ve set these profiles up (on campaigner activity). What are you doing with the data that you acquire?

A – I attended a training session earlier this year, at which someone made the excellent point that there’s no point gathering metrics unless you are going to do something with the data. With this advice ringing in my ears, we have made use of the metrics in a few different ways:

  • We have started to build benchmarks for ourselves that dictate our objectives. We now know how many of our campaigners are likely to sign a petition and how many are likely to take part in a more involved action “ask,” such as writing an email to their MP or writing a comment on why they support one of our campaigns for their MP to collect at one of our events.
  • More importantly, we are using these metrics to communicate with our campaigners in a more targeted way. For example, we are now emailing campaigners who are frequently taking “higher ask” actions with requests to see if they want to take an offline action as well, such as meeting their MP in person or going out for a morning and asking people to sign a petition. For the people who are taking one action and then no more, we are going to be running a reactivation campaign with them. We’ll try to get feedback on why that has happened so that we can change our practices and hopefully convert them to taking multiple actions!
Q – Have you got any other profiling ideas in mind for the future?

A – Yes! We’ve been thinking about how we can include information on actions that campaigners take outside of Engaging Networks within these profiles. For example, taking part in a 20-minute survey is a very high “ask” and we want to factor these supporters into our metrics. Similarly, we’ve been asking campaigners to send us photos of pavement parked cars via email, but we aren’t syncing information about how else they’ve been involved with us. We’ll be able to import this data into Engaging Networks and, as long as it’s properly tagged, we’ll be able to have a complete picture of our supporters’ behaviour.

We also plan to find out what percentage of any given action are actually new supporters – this will help us to know how well our campaigns are doing in terms of reaching new audiences, even when people don’t sign up to receive campaign updates from us.

Q – Any other tricks that you’ve discovered with the tool now you’ve been using it for a while?

A – Once you have built a supporter profile, you can run the report extremely quickly whenever you choose. This means at bi-monthly intervals, I can find out how we have compared to the previous two months in about 5 minutes – which is fantastic!

Some thoughts from us…

It’s great to hear that Guide Dogs is making excellent use of the tool and have started to build some very useful benchmarks that will help them with their supporter strategies going forward. At some stage it would be very interesting to see some longer-term follow up data about how successful their reactivation programme has been once they start sending emails to this group of supporters. Or if they’ve had any more success in converting their highly engaged online activists into taking more offline actions. We’ll update this case study as and when we get the information.

If you’d like to get the Supporter Profiles tool switched on in your account so you can see just what your supporters are or aren’t doing, or if you have access already but feel that you’re not getting the most out of it, please contact us and we’d be very happy to help!

Helen Honstvet is the Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs

Chloe Green is a copywriter and digital campaigner with almost a decade of experience in the charity and political sectors. She’s delivered campaigns, copy and consultancy for a raft of good eggs including Anthony Nolan, the National Union of Students, St Mungo’s, and Hillary for America. She was Social Media Manager at the Labour Party between 2016–2019 and now she’s Head of Creative with the lovely team at Forward Action. She leads on fundraising emails, UX copy, and all creative facilitation. She’s an expert in email list growth, digital strategy, organic and paid-for social media, and digital mobilisation.

Rachel founded the specialist charity web agency, Rechord, in 1999. Between 1999 and 2012 they created hundreds of different web applications for organisations in the UK and internationally.
In 2013 she became the 'Donor Whisperer' and focused on helping small to medium-sized non-profits to reach new donors and activists and from there increase their income. She uses a unique process that combines the benefits of consultancy with capacity building.
Her clients include Traidcraft Exchange, the Overseas Development Institute, Jubilee Debt Coalition, the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales, Tax Justice UK, The Canary, Humanity and Inclusion, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, BRACE, New Family Social, Arseh Sevom - and that's just the last year.
She also feels weird writing about herself in the third person.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Hannah is Senior Campaigns Officer at the MS Society, working on their local campaigning programme, Local Action for MS and also on social care and carers. She’s worked at the MS Society for a year and a half, and was previously at the MND Association and National Voices.

Executive Director of C6 Digital, London based agency

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Having gotten his start organizing with anti-war veterans and working as Sala Labs, Sales Engineer, and Partner Manager, Bryan now brings his expertise to non-profit and mission-driven clients as 4Site Studios Director of Digital Strategy. Specializing in challenging and complex projects, Bryan works with each client to craft holistic approaches tailored to goals, budget, and outcomes.

Mary Margaret Callahan is the Chief Mission Officer for Pet Partners, where she is responsible for leading mission delivery including the therapy animal program and grassroots advocacy program. She joined Pet Partners in 2013 and has worked to establish the organization as both an influencer and a resource within the animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and human-animal bond (HAB) community. In 2018 she was named one of PetAge Magazine’s Women of Influence. Mary Margaret lives on a small farm outside Seattle with her husband, daughter and menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats and miniature donkeys.

Joe Derry Hall is a freelancer working on creative digital and communications. His interests include tech innovation, upending power and reimagining different futures. Joe has been the winner of a Mozilla Creative Media Award and the joint winner of a BAFTA digital award. He was previously in-house in campaigning and communications roles at Amnesty International, the Climate Coalition, the Ecocide campaign, Save the Children, Scope and others. He is one of the initiators of Right Way Up, an experiment to create a radical, practical new vision for the social change sector.

Anna Chowcat is the Digital Manager at Refuge and oversees the charity’s digital function and output. Since joining Refuge, Anna has been instrumental in introducing a number of digital engagement programmes including digital campaigns, bespoke email supporter journeys and user friendly donate/campaign pages. Before joining Refuge, she has worked in digital engagement and campaign roles at The Labour Party and Leonard Cheshire Disability.