Case Study

The Smith Family

Working smarter achieves better results

The Challenge

The Smith Family is a national iconic Australian education charity that supports children experiencing disadvantage.

The Smith Family’s flagship ‘Learning for Life’ program currently operates in 741 schools in 91 communities across the country. It is focused on providing a tailored, relevant and comprehensive education support program for children and young people in need. This includes financial assistance for a child’s education-related expenses, personal support from a Family Partnership Co-ordinator for the duration of their educational journey and access to out-of-school learning and mentoring programs.

To provide that help to the 57,000 children currently on the program, and the other 1.2 million children and young people in Australia living with disadvantage, The Smith Family needed to significantly increase its fundraising by improving effectiveness and efficiency and to grow at a faster pace.

The Strategy – increased response, lower cost

The Smith Family partnered with Precise Value, an organisation it had worked with on a number of marketing and brand research projects. Knowing its reputation for successfully identifying and unlocking new growth opportunities for clients, The Smith Family briefed them to develop and implement a strategic research and analytics program focused on achieving fundraising growth.

“We were aware of Precise Value’s innovation and cutting-edge research and analytic techniques, which were important criteria for us” said Lisa Allan, Head of Marketing, The Smith Family. “And I’m pleased to say they more than delivered by increasing efficiencies and helping maximise our fundraising activities.”

The Execution

The Smith Family had a high value internal asset in its extensive database of supporters, amassed over many years.

Using its Research Study Evaluation Framework, Precise Value analysed the data to understand the giving traits and behaviour of The Smith Family supporters. Previous research had focused on a small segment of the database which revealed the importance of aligning communications to the attitudinal segment of a specific target audience for more effective and resonate fundraising. Precise Value built a predictive algorithm to capture the relationship using advanced statistics with an inbuilt accuracy scorer to help set appropriate cut-offs.

The preferences of discrete groups of supporters could then be identified and communications strategies developed to target specific groups, delivering more effective communications for the organisation and a better customer experience for supporters.

Alongside this, a carefully constructed series of focus groups were conducted across metropolitan and regional Australia, with a variety of target audiences. The aim was to understand what the wider public was seeking from charities and how The Smith Family could best understand and meet those needs.

Precise Value worked collaboratively with The Smith Family through a GrowthLab workshop enabling organisational and communications strategies to be aligned, leading to a powerful communications message and delivery of a tactical program to achieve the needed strategic funding to help thousands of more Australian children experiencing poverty.


Results of the research program led to a new and more effective way for The Smith Family to communicate with potential supporters about the organisation’s primary purpose. Understanding how best to talk to people about the issue The Smith Family are helping to address for children in need, and its work resulted in the development of a customised and successful donor communications strategy.

Precise Value’s advanced research analytics delivered critical benefits for The Smith Family, specifically boosting the effectiveness of their campaigns including:

  • Boosted donor response rates by ensuring communication was matched to individual preferences
  • A 7:1 campaign return on project investment
  • Extensive cost savings by implementing a predictive model rather than surveying the entire database
  • Product development, re-pricing and launch research with resulting 98%+ retention rate

Conclusion – Smarter strategic decision-making

Precise Value’s Growth Evaluation Framework highlights the critical link between communications and an organisation’s results. Using this Framework, The Smith Family was able to improve the efficiency of its fundraising and maximise the focus on its primary strategic goal – supporting children to engage and go further with their education.

“We have been delighted with the effectiveness of our marketing communications campaigns which have resulted in more children being sponsored,” said Lisa Allan. “Precise Value’s research and analytics program was pivotal in enabling us to achieve more for less through smarter decision-making.”

About Precise Value

Established in 1999, Precise Value is a management consultancy specialising in identifying and unlocking new business growth opportunities for organisations including corporations, government and not for profit agencies. Precise Value’s leading edge tools and techniques in market research, data analytics and employee engagement, deliver effective strategies that result in increased market share and revenues.


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