Data, Insights, Action: How data is helping three NFPs respond to COVID-19

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Perpetual Private Insights

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All over the world, doctors, scientists and policymakers are fighting COVID-19 using the best data they can bring to the battle. It’s no different in the community sector in Australia where civic-tech start-up, Seer Data & Analytics (Seer), is helping philanthropists, NFPs and Government tailor and target responses to the virus and its aftermath.

Here are three brief case studies on how the right data – and the insights community organisations can draw from it – can inspire more effective responses.

1. Beating persistent disadvantage in Shepparton, Victoria

The Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project (GSLP) is a not-for-profit established in response to community concern around persistent disadvantage for young people. It uses data, collaboration, and innovation to support the region’s children throughout their lives, with a focus on trying to reach them before they fall into crisis. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the GSLP team worked with Seer in 3 ways:

  1. The team used Seer’s Financial Vulnerability Map to visualise the areas at greatest risk of unemployment and need.
  2. They used Seer’s Financial Vulnerability Insights package to draw out local suburb level insights.
  3. The GSLP then used these insights to help a newly formed alliance of Shepparton leaders, the Greater Shepparton Response, make informed decisions on how to minimise the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable members of the community.

Seer Data’s Financial Vulnerability MapAmong other insights, Seer Data’s Financial Vulnerability Map helped identify the suburbs where employment was likely to be most affected by COVID-19 effects. Source: Seer Data & Analytics, May 2020.

Lisa McKenzie, Executive Director, Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project said: “We have developed a level of data literacy that is enabling us to work closely with Seer to overlay and correlate relevant data from multiple sources to understand the unique local implications of the pandemic in our area.

McKenzie continued: “Data gives us power – it has allowed our foundation to make key decisions on specific areas with good solid facts to back up our decisions. We know that COVID-19 will affect the most vulnerable in our society with housing stress and unemployment. Access to this Seer data is crucial in the road to recovery for our community”.

2. Food packages where they were needed most in Liverpool, NSW

Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections (LNC) is a not-for-profit based in Warwick Farm in NSW. It works to overcome disadvantage by providing information, driving community development and providing capacity building and advocacy services.

In facing into the COVID-19 crisis, LNC worked with Seer to identify where to send food parcels:

  1. LNC used Seer’s Financial Vulnerability Map to visualise needs in South Western Sydney with a particular focus on areas where people are receiving Centrelink payments and are experiencing rental or mortgage stress.
  2. They generated insights from the Seer platform to show a suburb-by-suburb (SA2) comparison to identify the highest priority areas.
  3. LNC then built a plan for the delivery of food packages with a focus on areas where rental stress and unemployment risk intersect.

Seer Data location graphSeer Data’s platform gave the LNC the ability to “see” the suburbs where people most relied on Centrelink payments. Source: Seer Data & Analytics, May 2020.

Pat Hall, General Manager, Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections said, “The Seer platform and maps help us figure out where to distribute our food parcels. A lot of people are experiencing real hardship and the data tells us more than 30% of people are living in rental stress in our area. It's really helpful to be able to break it down to a granular level to see the specific areas where people need the most help now.”

3. Helping newly vulnerable communities in Queensland

Vinnies in Queensland works with Seer to identify communities that need help, especially those not considered vulnerable until COVID-19 hit.  

  1. Vinnies used the Financial Vulnerability Map to visualise locations in Queensland where people are at higher risk of unemployment due to COVID-19 impacts.
  2. Vinnies focused on areas of high risk and compared other data, including the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, to determine the economic resources available to people living in these areas. It looked at the correlation between people dealing with mortgage or rental stress and those receiving Centrelink payments.
  3. With Seer’s help, Vinnies identified the most at-risk areas and developed a service delivery response.

Seer-data-location-qldSome Queensland communities are at very high risk of COVID-19 related unemployment. Seer’s data helped Vinnies understand where the people facing that unemployment risk also suffered from a lack of existing economic resources. Source: Seer Data & Analytics, May 2020.

Better data – the community payoff

These three examples show NFPs with deep roots in their communities using Seer’s data, insights and advice to increase their effectiveness. 

The massive hit to government, business and philanthropist incomes caused by the COVID-19 crisis means NFPs will find it harder to fund their activities at the exact moment their services become more important. Data, insights and an imaginative, community-focused response can help NFPs manage this double pressure – and deliver to those who need the most help now.

Read more about how Seer Data is mapping existing and emerging socio-economic vulnerability so NFPs can target their response here.

Perpetual and Seer

Perpetual administers one of the largest grant-making programs supporting the NFP sector. As such it collects a significant amount of crucial social-sector data and understands the power of better data usage. In November 2019, Perpetual and Seer formed a partnership dedicated to driving better data usage in the social sector.

As Perpetual’s General Manager of Community & Social Investment, Caitriona Fay, says, “Working with Seer is all about Perpetual’s commitment to impact in the social sector – data is crucial to doing more good in a world where many NFPs are working at capacity and beyond”.


Visit our COVID-19 Insights Hub for economic and market updates to keep you informed as the situation evolves.

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