The Ramblers is Britain’s walking charity, working to safeguard the footpaths, the countryside and other places where we go walking, and to encourage more people to take up walking. Using Government Data, The Ramblers lobbied parliamentary candidates in crucial areas to encourage them to adopt their cross-Britain manifesto to improve walking.
Our campaigns rely on making government aware of our policies. The trouble is, with so many MPs standing down in the last election, we were losing a lot of our key contacts. It was essential to analyse our membership details, so we could tell new MPs who hadn’t yet heard of our work how many Ramblers were in their constituency. Using this data we would be able to make these key figures sit up and take action.
We have a database of over 125,000 members. That’s a huge number – and impossible to manage for a campaign like this. Looking at a list of that size can be pretty daunting, and it’s difficult to know where to start. So we decided to try Government Data. Armed with a simple list of postcodes, we could automatically segment our member list according to constituency area to find out how many Ramblers members were in each one. When you imagine how long it would take to look up every single record manually, you get an idea of how useful the service is.
I suspect most charities will need this service a lot. We definitely will It was a huge eye-opener. Some MPs had over 500 Ramblers members in their constituency – certainly an effective way of encouraging the MPs to adopt our manifesto. We had no idea of just how many members were in which areas by looking at the list on its own, because there’s simply no way of finding out – it’s just a lump of details. Not only could we find out what we needed, but we were able to visualise the information on a map. The government data brought our database to life.
I suspect most charities will need this service a lot. We definitely will; being able to manipulate records in this way – find out where people are, where they’re based, and to draw it all out visually – is proving invaluable for our regional work. The campaign was a definite success. In fact, one in five elected MPs have pledged to support The Ramblers manifesto, and we are now extending the methods to London boroughs for a new campaign. We couldn’t have done it without your service.
– Rachel Alcock, Campaigns Officer, The Ramblers