We hear a lot about the data revolution and the benefits that large organisations are reaping from big data but it is not always apparent how useful data analysis can be to smaller outfits in the not-for-profit sector too. This is a sector where it is often the case that data are collected but then…because of limited capacity including know-now and resources, next steps - analysing, interpreting and using the data to good effect - can be a struggle.
It is great to hear that a New York-based charity – DataKind - with a mission to use data to serve humanity – is sharing the benefits of the data revolution and data’s worth to charities. It’s doing this in an immediate and practical way, helping them to work more productively and efficiently and achieve fresh and quantifiable insight into their organisations’ achievements and impact.
In this week’s Economist, ‘Data Huggers‘ reports on a recent 2-day DataKind ”hackathon” in London when data scientists did just this. One of their teams helped a charity which offers counselling to troubled schoolchildren. By working through their data they enabled the charity to evaluate its work and, in particular, to see which of their audiences responded most to which services and where they were having most impact. During an earlier hackathon in the US, DataKind analysed months of a the text message data of a not-for-profit group which enables rural patients in India to use their mobile phones to secure the advice of doctors based in cities hours away.