Oxfam Novib - 23 September 2022

The road to data-driven engagement

Oxfam Novib wants to get to know and serve its supporters better. Data plays a key role towards this goal. Mahout helped create a vision and roadmap to achieve it.


Fighting for equality together

Oxfam Novib fights for equality. For a just world in which everyone has equal rights and opportunities. To achieve this, it wants to start an activist movement in the Netherlands. A movement in which Oxfam is not fighting alone on behalf of its supporters, but in which it stands alongside their supporters to fight together. This requires a stronger connection with people who also (want to) fight for equality. In concrete terms, it means recruiting new supporters and keeping existing supporters closer. One thing was immediately clear to Oxfam Novib: to achieve this, data will be the key.

But leveraging data successfully takes a lot of work. After all, it requires a new CRM system, a solid data foundation including definitions and a strategy for data usage and storage, knowledge and skills about data-driven operation for everyone working in the Engagement department, and a data team capable of helping, advising, and leading on all fronts. In the meantime, Oxfam started with the implementation of a new CRM system, but how to proceed? What are the specific requirements? What to focus on? What to do first? And who’s responsible for the various aspects of the transformation?

One thing was immediately clear to Oxfam Novib: to achieve this, data will be the key.

To answer these questions, Oxfam Novib and Mahout worked together in creating a roadmap to make the Engagement department more data-driven.

Think big, start small

We discern two separate stages when creating a roadmap: 1) defining the dot on the horizon (the vision) and 2) identifying the route to get there (the roadmap itself). We began with determining the vision through a series of interviews. In these interviews, we spoke with people from all Engagement units, from the data team to the fundraisers. This helped us form a picture of all relevant aspects in the organization. Aspects such as the way data is being applied in initiatives, the kind of collaboration between teams, and what knowledge and skills are lacking to get more out of the data.

Then we defined a vision for 2025, three years away. Three years is far enough for ambitious goal, yet close enough for a concrete and achievable approach. Where does the Engagement department want to be in three years? Our goal for 2025 is a growing supporter base for Oxfam Novib thanks to data-driven, relevant engagement with (potential) supporters.

With this goal in mind, we conducted workshops with the same group of people we talked to in the interviews. In these workshops, we determined the most important pillars to work on toward the goal. For each pillar, we outlined the vision, “think big,” that we want to work toward, and concrete first steps, “start small,” that will help get there. This approach helps to keep the bigger goal in mind, but also to take tangible first steps to get there.


We used external inspiration to inspire and excite Oxfam Novib throughout the transformation process. Not from the world of NGOs, but mostly from the commercial sector. Even though these sometimes seem worlds apart, you can always learn something from other organizations. Good or bad. Big or small.

An actionable roadmap for Oxfam Novib

The trajectory resulted in a three-year roadmap that is going to help the Engagement department connect with supporters in a more data-driven way. The roadmap outlines the vision we want to work toward across key pillars and outlines concrete first steps that can be taken to get there. These range from sending personalized emails and creating a 360-degree supporter view to growing the data team and establishing a training program around data for the department. The next step? Time to implement the roadmap!

Do you also want a dot on the horizon?

Viola Neumann
Data Strategist
+31 6 573 959 14
Do you also want a dot on the horizon?


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