publication date: Mar 7, 2012
author/source: Peter Baker
Canadian charities go, Breakfast for Learning
is rarely counted among
the heavyweights. Its staff of 12 is scattered across Canada and it reports
revenues of about $5 million. But Breakfast for Learning has managed to make an
outsized impact. Its 3,100 nutrition programs feed 250,000 hungry
concedes that for many
years the group knew little about the population it fed. "We grew so fast in
order to feed children that we lacked the infrastructure to adequately support
the organization and understand the communities we were serving," she says.
New data aligned business
donors with areas served
corporate donors preferring to fund programs in communities where they had
customers, Breakfast for Learning found itself stranded in an information gap,
unable to provide data on its programs. "We needed a better handle on the
families we actually were touching," says Wong.
hearing about micromarketing tools offered by Environics Analytics
(EA), Wong approached the Toronto-based
marketing and analytics company to learn how she could gain a more complete
picture of Breakfast for Learning communities.
analysts supplied two tools: Envision
the company's online platform that analyzes markets and customers with
demographic data and PRIZMC2
its segmentation system that classifies Canadians into 66 lifestyle types based
on geodemographics and social values. They quickly produced 3,100 demographic
reports detailing the service area for each of the charity's nutrition
Data boosted programs,
away, the charity found ways to use the profiles. In some cases, staff noted
the ethnic makeup of each school's population and devised menus that reflected
cultural nuances: rice and kimchi for breakfast for a school with a large
Korean population, or gelatin-free yogurt to respect Muslim dietary
beyond meal planning, the group discovered the marketing analytics could
benefit its fundraising. Wong recalls a corporate funding proposal that
featured a series of Envision-generated maps displaying all the locations of
Breakfast for Learning's nutrition programs. Then the group overlaid those maps
with all the locations of the corporation's outlets, highlighting the shared
areas of service.
we finished the presentation, several of the donors just stepped back and went,
‘Wow!'" says Wong. "The data demonstrated how much we had in common. It let us
make a very strong case for support."
surprisingly, Wong and her staff have used such information to establish
partnerships with grocery chains like Longo's
in Ontario, Sobey's
Canada and Loblaws
through its President's Choice
these corporations provide both cash and gift cards, Breakfast for Learning
relies on Envision-produced maps to identify the partner grocer stores closest
to each of its school programs. "The analysis helps us allocate our gift card
resources," says Wong, "and helps us better serve our communities."
Sharpening media strategy
for Learning's media strategy has significantly changed as well. With more
information about its small-town supporters, the charity now considers
community newspapers essential for promoting its programs. It regularly
contributes health-related articles and nutritious recipes to community papers
around the country.
data on donors' strong scores for empathy and community involvement altered the
group's approach to its PSAs on TV. Where previous spots featured children
playing in a schoolyard accompanied by a voiceover, newer ads offer a more
realistic perspective - a youngster wakes up, runs to school and joins her
friends for a nutritious breakfast. "We're a lot more descriptive about the
typical scene," Wong observes, "because we better understand who we're
the group has turned to new media to promote its marketing messages. Staffers
now use Facebook and Twitter to encourage young people to eat a healthy
breakfast. And Breakfast for Learning plans to link its website to the service
area maps of every nutrition program, with photographs and data illustrating
each community. "The goal is to make our work more tangible to donors," says
Wong. "The data is helping us answer questions we couldn't answer before."
Data wins new corporate
this year, Breakfast for Learning received a call from Moxie's Classic Grill, a
Calgary-based chain of premium casual restaurants looking to adopt a corporate
charity that would be meaningful for customers, staff and suppliers. What
sealed the deal, says Wong, was her group's use of Envision maps to illustrate
the proximity of the company's restaurants to her group's nutrition programs.
when a diner orders one of Moxie's feature dishes, the company donates a
percentage of the proceeds to Breakfast for Learning while educating customers
about the charity's work. And company staffers have asked to do more, offering
to prepare snacks that they can deliver to area schools affiliated with
Breakfast for Learning.
isn't just a win-win fundraising opportunity," says Wong. "With our great
volunteers and the right information, the sky's the limit."
Peter Baker is vice president and practice
leader, overseeing the fundraising, packaged goods and municipal government sectors at Environics Analytics. This
article about the work of Environics Analytics first appeared in Direct
Marketing magazine. Used with permission. www.environicsanalytics.ca.