Combined tactics pave the way to more efficient operations
In September 2019, the Red Cross was chosen as the winner of the Digiarvoa 2019 competition. This competition, which was organised by Digia, was looking for digital projects with social impact. The winner was promised development assistance worth EUR 100,000 to help implement the project.
The Red Cross was seeking to develop its volunteer work through digital means. The initial goal was to gain an in-depth understanding of the kind of people who volunteer and how volunteer work could be organised as effectively as possible with the aid of data and information. Two different methods were selected for use: service design and data analysis.
Service design takes a human-centric approach through, for example, interviews and workshops. The ideas that arise are then quickly tested and piloted in practice. At this stage – that is, after qualitative personality grouping – volunteers were found to fit into four clearly distinct categories. These groups volunteer for slightly different reasons and in different ways.
The service design results were then validated and refined using data analysis. The first check was to ensure that the observations made through service design were also backed up by the data. Data analysis also provided much more accurate information about how many people were in each volunteer category, what kind of needs and expectations they had, and how they could take part in volunteer work.
The understanding gained through this data led to significant findings.
“We had previously thought that it would be difficult for people to engage in volunteer work during working hours on weekdays. However, we noticed that many younger and older people wanted to volunteer during the day in particular,” says Kiiskinen. He considers this to be a significant finding not only for the Red Cross but also for Finnish volunteer organisations in general.
Data analysis also changed previous assumptions about age groups. On the basis of the analysis, a surprisingly large number of young people would be happy to shoulder responsibility for organising and developing volunteer work. Another significant finding was that different times and situations mobilise different types of people. Monitoring this is important for organising volunteer work.
“These results are a good example of why we shouldn’t allow preconceived ideas to steer our activities to such a great extent. We should manage our activities with information instead,” says Kiiskinen.