Background

Client Cats Protection | Partner Wood for Trees | Industry Charity | Key objective To sustain income despite shop closures and reduced event and face to face activity during the Covid-19 pandemic

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat welfare charity. Since being founded in 1927, they've helped a huge number of cats and kittens – homing over 1.5 million of them to new owners and championing the rights of countless others. They help around 200,000 cats and kittens every year thanks in no small part to their network of over 230 volunteer-run branches and over 30 centres. These include the charity's flagship adoption centre in Chelwood Gate, Sussex, where their administrative offices can also be found. Cats Protection has a vision; a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the fundamental lack in Cats Protection’s reporting capabilities and the quality of the data underpinning it into sharp focus. Overnight, face-to-face fundraising activity moved online. Decisions were being made swiftly to sustain the income needed to provide their vital services to hundreds of thousands of cats and kittens across the UK, yet the income generation directorate was reliant on monthly finance reporting based on an income coding structure that was decentralised, inconsistent, and information-poor. Furthermore, the capabilities, resource, and tools used by the data team hadn't kept up with the explosive growth of the charity. The immediacy of action that the pandemic commanded and the absolute necessity for their fundraising to be anti-fragile to crises kick-started the Coding Rationalisation project to completely overhaul data and reporting.

Cats Protection and Wood for Trees infographic

Watch the video

Watch the video of the full case study, presented by Stacey Wood and Kate Parker from Cats Protection and Matthew Tamea from Wood for Trees, at Apteco Live Online 2021

The Apteco Solution

This cross-directorate project had clear objectives – create a coding structure that was consistent across all teams and provided a supporter-centric overview of performance by business area, appeal, product, and inbound and outbound channel. Cats Protection needed to make the process of fundraising easier to understand, wrapping the entire process in supporting documentation. Over the course of a year at Cats Protection, reporting has been utterly transformed. This included the construction of over 30 Orbit income dashboards based on a fully rationalised coding structure not only redesigned for 2021 but, using FastStats, they were able to recategorise all historic income, writing off more than a decade of data debt.

Apteco FastStats

Apteco Orbit

Apteco PeopleStage

Cats Protection was propelled along the data maturity timeline from a place of unorganised data and basic operational reporting to self-service dashboarding and predictions – a transformative and essential shift, whilst pivoting to the Covid-19 pandemic and implementing a new and ambitious 10-year fundraising strategy, future-proofing Cats Protection’s continued success and growth. The team were also able to retrospectively review past activity and analysis in this view, overlaying with other metrics such as geodemographics and past supporter roles with far greater accuracy. These demonstrable and far-reaching benefits from FastStats and Orbit have underpinned the confidence in implementing PeopleStage (with the surety that any defined workflows will be significantly more robust) and budgeting decisions for the year ahead. Most significantly, the software has helped with the implementation of a new 10-year fundraising strategy – a key objective of this being to get to know supporters and prospects so well that the team can anticipate what they need and expect.

It’s quite jaw dropping what has been achieved by this team, at speed but with a solid vision and set strategic objectives all of the way though. All teams across the organisation are delighted and impressed with progress. We are about to enter a new 10-year strategy and I am so much more confident of the insight that has fed it and the decisions that we will make in the future.

Lee Derrick, head of data, digital and direct marketing, Cats Protection

Lee Derrick, head of data, digital and direct marketing, Cats Protection

The impact on the business

Meaningful dashboards
Meaningful dashboards

Creation of over 30 dashboards to enable self-service and improved understanding of supporter behaviour used for key decision making.

A fully rationalised coding structure
A fully rationalised coding structure

Redesigned to be able to recatergorise all historic income and linked to finance processes, writing off over a decade of data debt.

Improved performance visibility
Improved performance visibility

Fundraising teams can look at activity across all business areas to understand the shift to digital giving during the pandemic.

Make informed decisions at speed
Make informed decisions at speed

Real-time reports allow teams to monitor changing trends, making investment or divestment choices at speed.

It can’t be overstated, our partners Wood for Trees and Apteco tools FastStats and Orbit were pivotal to not only the success of the project but its complete triumph. Being propelled across the data maturity timeline within a year meant that during Covid we were able to sustain income despite shop closures and reduced event and face to face activity. For the first time, we can be confident that we truly have a supporter-focused view ensuring the right product, channel, timing, content, and action is correct for every supporter – ultimately supporting even more cats and kittens in our care around the UK and meeting our ambitious 10-year strategy objectives.

Stacey Wood, data manager, Cats Protection

Stacey Wood, data manager, Cats Protection