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SAS® User Adoption services help leading charity to revolutionise fundraising

SAS® Education services, including role-based learning paths, scheduled public courses, workshops, simulations and mentoring – delivered using pre-paid Education Units – enabled this international charity to develop its new analyst team and embed SAS® skills in the most flexible and cost-effective ways.

Modern fundraising demands the highest levels of precision and efficiency. When this charity decided to update its fundraising operations and expand its analyst team, it implemented SAS® Marketing Automation. Thanks in part to focused and flexible User Adoption Services delivered via SAS® Education, in seven months the charity was on target to deliver a five-times return on investment, with its Database Marketing Manager commenting: "While we've predicted five times ROI, we could reach as much as ten times."

'Greenfield' site

The charity sends out millions of communications each year to new donors and to encourage supporters to give more. In-house, the team lacked the skills to design and install its new solution – hence the extensive involvement from SAS® Professional Services – and also it required training and knowledge sharing from SAS Education so it could utilise the new technologies and drive sustained ROI. "In terms of SAS this was a 'greenfield' site," says Nigel Armstead, Education Manager, SAS. "A few people were aware of SAS but none had used it. Working closely with SAS was always part of the plan. We understand and can apply the technology better than anyone else, and our experience with customers around the world is unrivalled." Being a charity, this was also an extremely cost-sensitive environment. He adds, "They wanted to do as much in-house as possible, and we wanted to support them by providing a genuinely flexible and cost-effective approach."

Driving adoption

The charity engaged with SAS using Education Units: pre-paid bundles of credits that enable a client to buy SAS Education services a year in advance, in bulk, and so receive substantial discounts. Initially, SAS Education worked to train new users quickly, aligned to their job roles and requirements, so they could participate in implementing the solution. "This was the bare minimum to get a small group of people up and running fast," Armstead says. Training included a three-day public course on SAS® Enterprise MinerTM, taking in SAS® Data Integration Studio and SAS® Data Quality, with attendees later sharing this knowledge with colleagues. "They mainly used SAS Enterprise Guide to create business intelligence: how many donors, how much they gave, how often, and so on. It was pretty basic, getting it all set up," Armstead says.

The second phase – a few months later, once the now-expanded team had used SAS® in action – was all delivered on-site using the client's own data and systems. "This was about filling in gaps in skills and knowledge for individuals, including new joiners, for whom SAS Enterprise Miner and SAS Forecast Server were entirely new, using workshops and simulations," Armstead says. "We wanted to ensure they got the most from SAS." Activity focused on consolidating knowledge and skills, and helping build individuals' confidence and ability across four streams:

  • Segmentation using SAS Enterprise Miner
  • Forecasting with SAS® Forecast Server
  • Campaign Management in SAS Marketing Automation
  • Day-to-day housekeeping and administration: "This is something you can't teach initially," Armstead says. "You need to be up and running for six to nine months before you can cover this aspect effectively."

Flexibility is key

He continues, "We always encourage clients to use their data and systems on-site to enhance the learning experience; to ensure it's an accurate reflection of their world and needs, and what they want to achieve with SAS. We can customise all our public scheduled training in this way, while taking into account all security and confidentiality issues. This really benefited the client in this case: their use of SAS in fundraising was genuinely innovative, taking them down a route nobody else had gone before." Education Consultants worked on-site, in a sandpit approach, to demonstrate additional skills, best practice and avoiding pitfalls. "It was highly consultative and iterative, going back over things and enabling people to review what they'd learned. Of course, you do this best when you know the client and its environment extremely well."

With a project such as this, SAS Education would normally conduct a Learning Needs Assessment early and produce a tailored learning package. "With this client, however, most of the team wasn't in place when we started," Armstead says. "So we had to put in place a learning path based on anticipated roles, which made this a little different. Meanwhile, the client was looking for the best people to hire in line with its budget. The result was a team that combined experienced people – but not necessarily in SAS – with less skilled individuals, whom the client wanted to develop in-house. So this project became about how we engaged with different individuals to ensure the learning fitted their needs and those of the organisation, and was pitched at the right level." With the charity taking longer than planned to establish its team, SAS remained flexible with the learning delivery timescales to ensure the organisation could achieve its goals.

Driving real value from learning

Armstead says, "A critical issue is around 'transfer of training' – how you apply your learning when you're back in the workplace to get genuine value from your training. That's why the phase-two workshops were so important. Individuals could bring questions and ask about any issues they'd run into; we could ask, 'What do you need to know?' It helps to focus the mind and make what you've learned real. It's no longer an abstract thing: we can help you use your new-found skills and take them further. User Adoption isn't only about 'standard' instructor-led training – it's far more than that. Our approach truly helps you to adopt SAS in the most effective ways. And we can scale up as needed, delivering a similarly coherent and planned programme to the largest organisations and irrespective of user numbers."

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Leading charity

Business Issue:
Deploy and quickly utilise SAS Marketing Automation to improve campaigns and maximise income – but lacking in-house SAS experience, skills and resource.
User Adoption Services via SAS Education: flexible pre-paid Education Units, planning/delivering bespoke training, role and competency mapping, public courses, instructor-led training, workshops, simulations, coaching and mentoring.
Helping users become proficient and skilled in SAS in the most effective and cost-efficient ways to benefit the business; helping them achieve rapid ROI; ongoing flexible programme of learning and development as and when required.

"We always encourage clients to use their data and systems on-site to enhance the learning experience; to ensure it's an accurate reflection of their world and needs, and what they want to achieve with SAS... This really benefited the client in this case: their use of SAS in fundraising was genuinely innovative, taking them down a route nobody else had gone before."

Nigel Armstead

Education Manager, SAS UK

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