Case study: Tracking progress for a housing campaign

Overview

This case study is specific, but the concepts can be applied to just about any diverse, multi-prong organizing strategy.

Start at the end

If you know you have metrics that you need at the end of your campaign, always start with those metrics so you know the minimum amount of data to collect.

In this case, here are the metrics required of the funder (see the full metrics narrative for an explanation of each item).

Outputs

  • No. of people who got info about Right to Counsel
  • No. of buildings outreached to
  • No. of workshops offered
  • No. of people attended workshops
  • No. of leaders trained
  • No. of new tenant associations formed
  • No. of people in new tenant associations
  • No. of referrals to legal service providers

Outcomes

  • No. of leaders developed
  • No. of households that applied for a rent reduction
  • Ave. $ value of rent reduction
  • No. of households that applied for a rent overcharge
  • No. of tenants associations that became independent
  • No. of households that stopped landlord harassment
  • No. of households that got repairs
  • No. of households that thwarted evictions

Basic setup

The buildings

The first step is to make sure we can record the main kind of contacts needed for organizing and their relationships with each other.

Let's start with Tenant buildings. All tenant buildings should be:

  • Entered as Organizations
  • Entered with the name: "Building at [address]" (e.g. Building at 455 West 125th Street)
  • Coded with the Constituent Type field coded as "Tenant Building" so we can distinguish them from other organizations in the database.

In addition, we should add one custom field that extends organization contacts:

  • Date Tenant Association Started

Now, we can search for all Tenant Buildings, and we can futher restrict to buildings in which a tenant organization has been organized or not (and even find out when it was started). For example, to search for all tenant associations, you can search for all organizations with a Date Tenant Association started greater than 1990 (or some arbitrary date far in the past).

The tenants

Each tenant should be entered as an Individual with Constituent type set to Apartment Tenant.

In addition, they should have an address filled out matching the address of the Tenant building they are in. Be sure to put unit number/apartment number in the Supplemental Address 1 field.

Now you can search for all tenants in a building by searching for all individual contacts with a matching address.

Tracking interactions

Now it's time to track your interactions.

Campaigns

If you have to track number of touches of a particular topic, then campaigns are for you. In this case, we need to track everyone who is involved in any with with tenant organizing.

So, our first step is to create that campaign in Powerbase. Click Campaigns -> New Campaign and create a new campaign called "Tenant Organizing."

Then, every event, mailing, or activity that in any way had anything to do with tenant organizing, we add that campaign to it so we can search for the campaign at the end of the reporting period.

Meetings, Trainings and Events

Events are one way to track workshops and leadership trainings. It is particularly useful if you want to:

  • Allow people to register over the Internet
  • Take attendance so you know who is coming to the meeting.
  • Record notes and agendas for meetings

The step is to create event types for each kind of event you want to track. By creating event types, you can more easily search for people who came to a particular type of event.

For example, you may want to create these event types:

  • Housing Workshop
  • Leadership Development Training

Every workshop and leadership training should be organized via the CiviEvent system and the event should coded to the proper event type.

And, when creating the event, be sure to assign it to the Tenant Organizing campaign.

After each event, copy the agenda and notes from the meeting into the event description.

Also, either take attendance via Powerbase at the meeting (using the mobile app) or take the sign in sheet and be sure to enter everyone who attended afterwards.

Outreach

Tracking outreach is a little bit different then most other things we track in the database. Usually, every person we intertact with should be entered as a contact.

But with outreach, you will be reaching far more people than is practical to enter (e.g. you may put a flyer on every door step, but you won't want to enter the names of everyone in each of these apartments).

For this reason, you may want to create a custom activity type called "Building Outreach" along with a custom activity field called "Number of people reached".

Then, every time you do outreach, create an activity under the organizer or organizers doing the outreach (and also include the Building on the activity if you are doing outreach in one or more buildings) of the type: Building Outreach. Then, enter an estimate of the number of people you reached in the "Number of people reached" field.

One on One interactions

We also need to record interactions we have with tenants. These can be tracked via Activities using custom activity types. We will need the following custom activity types:

  • Rent Reduction Application (with custom field to record the $ value)
  • Rent Overcharge
  • Landlord Harrassment
  • Repairs
  • Eviction Attempts
  • Legal Referral

Any time a tenant calls about one of those actions, an activity should be created with the status "In Progress" and the date of the complaint.

If it is resolved, the status should be changed to "Completed" and if it is not resolved, "Cancelled"

Reporting

With this data collection regimen in place, reporting will come easily:

Outputs

No. of people who got info about Right to Counsel

  • Use advanced search
  • Expand activities
  • Enter date range
  • Select the campaign: Tenant Organizing.
  • Plus...
    • Use advanced search
    • Expand activities
    • Enter date range
    • Select activity type: Building outreach
    • Export to a spread sheet, including the field "Number of people reached"
    • Add all rows together and add to your initial number

No. of buildings outreached to

  • Use advanced search
  • Limit to organizations
  • Constituent type: Tenant Building,
  • Expand Activities
  • Activity type: Building Outreach
  • Limit activity date

No. of workshops offered

  • Click Events -> Manage Events.
  • Select: Search All or by Date Range and enter date range
  • Restrict by Event type workshops

Count the results

No. of people attended workshops

  • Advanced Search
  • Expand the Events section
  • Restrict by date range
  • Restrict by event type: Workshops

No. of leaders trained

  • Advanced Search
  • Expand activity section
  • Restrict by date range
  • Choose campaign: Tenant Organizing

No. of new tenant associations formed

  • Advanced Search
  • Restrict to Organizations
  • Restrict to Constiuent Type Tenant Building
  • Restrict by date range for Date Tenant Association formed

No. of people in new tenant associations

  • Advanced Search
  • Expand Event
  • Event Name: Select every tenant meeting for all new tenant associations in the given period

No. of referrals to legal service providers

  • Advanced Search
  • Expand Activities
  • Restrict by date range
  • Restrict by Activity type: Legal Referral

Outcomes

No. of leaders developed

Review the list of people who came to your leadership workshops and decide who is "developed"

No. of households that applied for a rent reduction

  • Advanced Search
  • Expand Activities
  • Restrict by date range
  • Restrict by activity type Rent reduction

Ave. $ value of rent reduction

Same as above but:

  • Display results as activity
    • Export to spread sheet to get the total value

No. of households that applied for a rent overcharge

  • Advanced Search
  • Expand Activity
  • Restrict by date range
  • Restrict by Activity type (Rent overcharge)
  • Activity status (completed)

No. of tenants associations that became independent

Should be small enough number that you don't need the database.

No. of households that stopped landlord harassment

Review all the overcharge, repair and other activities. Also, review all tenant association meeting notes. Discuss building by building to come up with the number. See the narrative for more info.

No. of households that got repairs

Same a rent overcharge but with repairs.

No. of households that thwarted evictions

Same as rent overcharge but with evictions.

Category: 
Collecting and Managing Contact Information