What local cause data tells us about our members

We’re proud of the Co-op Membership scheme and what it gives back to our members and local communities. When members buy own-brand products or services from Co-op, we give 5% back to the member, and 1% to the Local community fund to support local causes as chosen by members. At the end of each funding period a new ‘round’ begins and members can choose from a new set of local causes.

Now that 2 rounds of payments have been completed, the Data Science and Community Engagement teams have been looking into the data and what it tells us about our members, the choices they’re making and what those choices might say about us as an organisation.

Learning more about the Local community fund

We looked at data around causes across 10 different categories:

  1. Art and culture
  2. Community development
  3. Education and skills
  4. Environment
  5. Health
  6. Social inclusion
  7. Sport
  8. Young people
  9. Animal welfare
  10. Other

Using these categories we’ve been able to see the number of members choosing each cause, the popularity of each category, and the amount of funding each one received. We especially looked for significant or unusual data that provide specific insights and which can help direct our future campaigning.

Here’s what we found.

Community payouts increased between round 1 and 2

Our members have raised £20 million for local causes through the Local community fund  – £9,196,993 in the first round and a further £10,825,772 in the second round.

We saw a rise in the number of causes chosen, as well as in the income that was generated for each different cause category.

Young people and social inclusion received the most funds

It’s unsurprising that our data shows members supporting causes that align with Co-op values. In fact the Local community fund is specifically targeted at causes benefitting members’ local communities. However, clear favourites do emerge under each category.

For both round 1 and round 2, the category receiving the most funds was ‘young people’. Causes relating to this raised nearly £5 million: more than £1 million more than the next category down, which was social inclusion. We have done a lot of work in this area, including through our partnership with the Red Cross.

Between the 2 rounds, the number of causes related to young people has increased from 882 to just over 1,000, showing that this remains a priority in Co-op communities. Social inclusion groups have reduced in number between rounds 1 and 2, but remain consistent in the level of support they receive.

Homelessness is an important issue to members

The high number of causes in the social inclusion category, and the many members choosing to support them, provide a clear indication that members share our appetite for tackling the problems facing communities.

Causes in the social inclusion category were amongst the most successful at encouraging members to support them – proving the most popular cause in 43% of all the communities where they were represented in both rounds.

In the case of causes that are working to address social issues, such as homelessness, this proportion can rise even higher. Across both rounds, causes supporting the homeless proved the most popular with Co-op members in 55% of the communities where they were represented.

Promotion works

As we approached the end of the second round of funding, more than 1,600 members were choosing a cause every day. This shows that interest in causes remains alive throughout the funding round, and messages about choosing causes were being received through friends and family, stores and across the media.

However we found that this number increases significantly when the Co-op, and causes themselves, begin to promote the Local community fund. The chart below shows that once social media is used, either by Co-op or by the charity, to highlight both membership and local causes, members respond by logging in and choosing.

cause-selection-promotion-04-14-nov-2017Between 11 and 13 November, driven by social media activity, the daily number of members choosing a cause rose 78%. This then increased to a total of 35,000 on 14 November when we emailed our members encouraging them to select a cause, showing clearly that email is currently our most effective tool for mobilising people.

Round 3: hoping for even bigger payouts

If you’re a Co-op member, you can now choose your next local cause by logging into your account. Alternatively, if you’re involved with a local group or established charity, you can register your interest for the next round of the fund, and use social media to raise awareness. As we can see from our data, that can make all the difference.
Simon Kirby, Community data and insight manager
Charles Gordon, Senior community data analyst

Making it easier for Members to choose a local cause

I’m Charlotte and I’m an Agile Business Analyst working on the Membership service.

Since launch of our new Membership, one of the things that we noticed was that the number of our members selecting a local community cause to support with their 1% was lower than we expected.  

We looked at what the analytics were telling us

  • 30%  of total members clicked through to the causes page from the member dashboard.
  • 72% of new members were clicking through to causes.
  • 64% of members visiting the causes page then went on to select a local cause.

Statistics from 21/9 – 18/10 from Google Analytics.

We listened to what our members were saying

“I want to support the cause I saw in my store not one of the three you have shown me”.

“I don’t understand how the funding cycle works”.

“I don’t understand why I am being shown these causes”.

Feedback from 21/9 – 18/10 from user research/feedback form.

We identified some key outcomes

  1. Increase members understanding of the cause selection process.
  2. Increase members understanding of the funding cycle.
  3. Increase click through rate from the member dashboard to causes for new members.
  4. Increase the number of members selecting a cause to support.

What changes did we make?

We added new content onto on to the website explaining the funding cycle and how the causes were selected.

Screen shot of the local causes areas of our website

 We now display the cause that a member is supporting on their membership dashboard.

Screen shot of the local causes areas of our website

We ask members to check their address if they didn’t have any local causes displayed. 

We improved the site by simplifying the information displayed within each of the cause summary panels and removing the support button to make the whole panel clickable.

Screen shot of the local causes areas of our website

We improved each cause profile page to include the button and changed the call to action from “Support” to “Back this project”, making it more meaningful.

Screen shot of the local causes areas of our website

We’ve improved the journey for members so that they are able to navigate to a cause profile page by using the URL. This will allow causes to promote themselves (and their URL) and allow our marketing emails to promote specific URL’s.

What difference has this made so far?

  • We’re now averaging 19% click through rate (of total members) to the causes page from dashboard (decrease of 11%).
  • However we’re seeing an average of 79% click through rate for new members clicking through to the dashboard (increase of 7%).
  • 76% of members visiting the causes page go on to select a local cause (Increase of 12%).

Statistics from 18/10 – 11/11 from Google Analytics.

You can see that the total number of members clicking through to causes has decreased. We expected this to happen as a direct result of us displaying the cause that a member is backing on their dashboard. The number of new members clicking through to causes has increased by 7% which was one of our measures of success. Those members that do click through to causes, are 9% more likely to support one of the local causes.

It look’s like our changes have made a positive impact to date. It will be interesting to to see how these figures change when we give members the option to support a different community with their 1%. This functionality will be coming shortly.

Don’t forget we’re looking for the next round of good causes to support in May 2017.

Charlotte King
Agile Business Analyst

Changes to Co-op Membership

At our AGM on Saturday, Richard shared with members the changes to Co-op Membership that will happen from Autumn this year.

As a member, everytime you buy Co-op branded products and services and use your card, you’ll get 5% back on what you’ve spent – from a loaf of bread to a funeral plan. You can then use that 5% anytime that you want to – against your next purchase or save it up for as long as you like.

As well as the 5% for you, 1% of the value of the Co-op branded products will also go to local causes that you help to choose.

Co-op Membership graphic 5% for you. 1% for your community
Richard Pennycook explaining the changes to Co-op Membership at our AGM 2016

As Ben said yesterday the simplicity of our new logo design is really going to make Co-op products and services stand out, so as a member you can see the items where you’ll get something for you and something for your community.

It’s important that our colleagues and Members’ Council can easily explain membership (we know we’ve made it hard for them in the past) and we also want them to be able to feedback on the experience. This is why over the summer they’ll have access to new Co-op membership first, followed in the Autumn by the rest of our members.

But we aren’t going to stop there. We’ll keep looking at ways to make being a Co-op member even better. And, like Mike said on Saturday we’re committed to radical transparency so we’ll be sharing our progress here on the blog. As a start, in the next few weeks we’ll share the work we’ve done so far looking at how we can create new ways to give members a voice in their Co-op.

Alyson Chadwick
Director of Strategy