5 Ways Non-Profits Can Use Local Data to Prove Need and Impact

Nothing but uncertainty is the norm right now, adding one more challenge for non-profits who are struggling to serve their clients and, in many cases, to stay afloat.

Every sector in our economy has been affected by measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic—and the most vulnerable in our community are even harder hit. Since the pandemic, Canadian non-profits have seen a 31 percent decline in revenue, 30 percent have laid off staff and 55 percent expect to lay off more people. At the same time, clients of non-profits are in ever-greater need, making it difficult for non-profits to spare the resources to develop a case for support and find the data to substantiate requests for donations. 

Non-profits will discover that Peg is a ready source of reliable data and can be an essential part of their toolkit to sustain their organization and services during and post COVID-19.

Just what is Peg?

Peg is an online source of data on key community indicators, tracking the health of our city year over year from sources such as Statistics Canada, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, City of Winnipeg, the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg and other reputable organizations. Peg also offers comparisons of the community indicators to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adding another layer of valuable measurement.

More than ever, non-profits must demonstrate their value and need for funds. Here are five ways non-profits can leverage Peg data.

Making an Effective Fundraising Case

Successful grant applications and effective fundraising proposals must give a clear and evidence-based description of a need. Non-profits will find many valuable and pertinent data sources in Peg. For example, under the Basic Needs theme. Depending on the populations and their needs served by a non-profit, non-profits can benefit from indicator data relating to core housing, homelessness, food bank support and more.

Graph showing food bank use in Winnipeg over time.

Since Peg data shows trends over time, non-profits can strengthen their case by identifying and pulling trends from the data, illustrating shifts—for better or worse—among the audience they serve and issues they address.

Impact Statements

A strong impact statement can help non-profits demonstrate the need for their services and for donations, volunteers or policies to support the services. The statement articulates the need using data to give credibility and urgency to address the need and describes the solution offered by the non-profit.

Graph showing child care space availability in Winnipeg

Information from the Peg indicators provides relevant data from trustworthy sources. Most non-profits will find at least one, and often more, sources of valuable information to strengthen their impact statement, from the availability of child care spaces to substance use and addiction to low income to household income and more. Peg disaggregates the data by Winnipeg communities, providing very relevant information for non-profits who target specific neighbourhoods, such as Point Douglas, Transcona or elsewhere in the city.

Getting Your Message Out

Small, community-based non-profits will have more success in fundraising, recruiting volunteers or getting the ear of policy makers if they increase awareness about who they are and why they exist. This can start by creating key messages derived from their impact statement and focused on data that will ring true with their target audience.

Graph showing mood and anxiety rates in Winnipeg by neighbourhood.

This could be anything from the state of homes in some areas of the city to mood and anxiety disorders—a wealth of information covering a range of indicators non-profits can use to highlight the value their organization brings to the community. Non-profits can raise their profile by sharing these evidence-based key messages via social media and other media, such as reports to the community and e-newsletters.

Volunteer Recruitment

Many non-profits rely on the efforts of volunteers to augment the work done by paid staff. Sometimes volunteers seek out opportunities, while recruitment often is a necessary task for non-profits to attract help. When recruitment is needed, it helps to have a convincing message, backed up with evidence, to appeal to potential volunteers. They want to know why the non-profit delivers the services it does, who it serves and how volunteers can contribute and feel valued.

Peg’s community indicators will help make your case. Data used to make a case for support can be enhanced with other information about volunteerism, such as how it helps people feel they belong.

Putting Out a Call to Action

Presenting the facts—and there are many to choose from among Peg’s indicators—is just part of the process of gaining support for non-profits. Asking people to take action is as critical and is most effective when it’s backed up by reliable evidence. An impact statement and awareness-raising messages help tell a story and describe a need; the call to action will give people a way to respond to that story, whether it’s by donating money, services or their time.

Wherever you need it for your organization’s message, Peg data is accurate, accessible and a key component in a non-profits toolkit. Get started by browsing the left-hand tabbed navigation to view data from its eight theme areas.

Data collected prior to the pandemic provides a baseline and post-pandemic research will help us understand more about how non-profits were affected. Such information will provide non-profits, policy makers and others with information to respond to socio-economic changes post-pandemic.

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