Site Search
September 27th, 2019

USA for UNHCR: 2019 Genius Awards Finalist (Data Analytics Adoption and Growth)

This is the sixth of 11 posts Neustar will be running to highlight the achievements of the 2019 ANA Genius Awards finalists. Winners will be announced during ANA Masters of Marketing Week, Oct 2-5.



How does a global human rights agency provide better care for refugees through better data?

The Challenge:

In the year 2015, global crises and conflicts sparked a worldwide refugee crisis that is ongoing to this day. USA for UNHCR was thrust into center stage by this crisis, which caused them to quadruple their fundraising efforts in order to provide a higher standard of care for a larger number of people.

Prior to 2015, it had been easy for the UNHCR to rely on their built-in CRM data for donor outreach. But higher targets for donor giving demanded a more innovative approach. 

The Process:

USA for UNHCR (U4U), tasked The Hive – their innovation lab – with bringing analytics in-house in order to optimize their programming. The Hive in turn laid out a roadmap that included hiring additional data science personnel, creating an internal analytics working group (IAWG), and forming a Data Advisory Board that would help the organization align to best practices.

In addition, The Hive implemented data trainings throughout the organization, helping their many departments create and interpret data visualizations. The IAWG championed the use of analytics in every department communicating a new strategy and data approach from the top down.

Lastly, the Data Advisory Board was comprised of expert leadership from the for-profit world and was able to provide detailed guidance on how to navigate a digital transformation.

The Results:

The U4U organization was able to successfully implement analytics and drive widespread adoption throughout. The Hive was able to create 26 custom dashboards in 2019 alone – and in an organization of just 60 people, these dashboards had a collective 2793 views. Not only are the tools for analytics in place, U4U has nurtured the skills to allow the organization to adopt them.



With the tools for analytics in place, U4U now needed to put those skills to work with the most crucial part of their business – influencing donors and aiding refugees.

The Challenge:

Having revitalized its data collection operations, USA for UNHCR put its new resources to work influencing donors. Previously, fundraising operations were handled by seven different teams, each with their unique vendors and unique data which was kept in silos. By sharing data between these departments, USA for UNHCR realized that they could optimize the donor journey, hit higher fundraising targets, and ultimately provide better care for refugees worldwide.

The Process:

At the outset, U4U realized that their donor data was spread out across the map – in two different CRMs plus a myriad of web apps and third parties. The first step was to store all this data in the same place – a data lake. The next step was to normalize this data by putting it in a common format with standardized fields – a data warehouse. Finally, U4U created ETL pipelines from the data warehouse to various analytics tools and dashboards.

To accomplish these goals in quick succession, U4U formed public-private data and analytics partnerships. These partnerships let U4U create their infrastructure, providing the flexibility of cloud computing without necessitating that the organization build their architecture and applications from scratch.

The Results:

Within just seven months, U4U was able to consolidate 85% of their known data within their data warehouse. With this change, the team has primed the organization for growth. Information is no longer siloed, making it that much easier for teams to contact donors across multiple channels. For example, a team member specializing in fundraising events can easily contact high-ticket online donors, helping to increase participation. Alternatively, the online team can take data from fundraising events and use it to automatically find lookalike audiences on Facebook.

Lastly, the results of this initiative are full of quantitative success stories – less time spend on manual reports, decreased donor churn, and new audience identification. Although the refugee crisis continues, U4U has stepped up to the challenge as an organization that’s equipped to provide increased aid.

Final Thoughts:

In the midst of a crisis, USA for UNHCR found opportunities to do more and help more. Many non-profit organizations find their fundraising efforts bogged down by antiquated technology and limited budgets, but USA for UNHCR was able to leverage internal creativity and public-private partnerships to streamline their approach and grow donor conversions.

Previous: PepsiCo I Next: LongHorn Steakhouse

For more about all the 2019 Genius Awards Finalists, click here.

To learn how Neustar helps enterprise marketers like you build real, actionable insights that help you truly understand the impact of your marketing investment, click here.

Let's Connect

Learn How Your Company Can Benefit from the Power of Trusted Connections.

Contact Us   Give us a call 1-855-898-0036