(Debra Joy Perez [@djoyperez] currently is serving as interim vice president of research and evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest healthcare philanthropy in the country.
Beth Kanter's insight:
The latest Q&A in the series, featuring Debra Joy Perez, the foundation's interim vice president of research and evaluation, explores how RWJF's use of social media, which has become essential to its communication efforts, can be measured to reflect the impact of that work in the context of achieving the foundation's larger social change goals.
The SumAll Foundation, a non-profit effort by cloud analytics startup SumAll, is trying to change the world by showing non-profits how to get the most out of their data by thinking more like businesspeople do.
The following is a guest post Amit Jain, lead researcher and marketing director at Coursolve. These days, it’s all too easy to find examples of “Big Data” making an impact. From solving crimes to f...
Beth Kanter's insight:
Here's another resource for finding data nerds who can work with nonprofits!
We have a different sort of solution in mind – one that harnesses the untapped potential of students. As institutions of higher education dramatically expand their data science offerings, countless students are gaining new skills, but aren’t putting them to use with real-world datasets. Next month, we’re giving tens of thousands of those students from around the world the chance to do something more exciting: work with your data to strengthen your impact.
Nonprofits of all types are now invited to apply to “Introduction to Data Science,” a massively open online course to be taught next month by Prof. Bill Howe of the University of Washington. As part of the course, students will have the option to complete a project in which they work with a real dataset to address the needs of an organization. As they learn techniques in data visualization and trend identification, these students will apply what they learn to help drive your organization’s future initiatives. The insights they offer could strengthen your impact and identify areas for growth.
In a world with limited resources, it just makes sense to utilize student talents and creativity to strengthen your work. Tens of thousands of students have already registered for the course – don’t miss your chance to recruit thei
No publisher or content producer can afford to ignore how Google ranks the news.
Beth Kanter's insight:
The first three metrics refer to “the number of articles produced… during a given time period, an average length of an article [and] the importance of coverage from the news source.” These favor large publishers, but they select for originality and focus as well. Google is actually “counting the number of original sentences” and comparing the output about the given subject to the news source’s competitors.
Goals come in a wide range, but ultimately, the point of your video is not to just simply provide information. You usually want to move or encourage your audience to do something after they are done watching.
But is big data really all it's cracked up to be? Can we trust that so many ones and zeros will illuminate the hidden world of human behavior? Foreign Policy invited Kate Crawford of the MIT Center for Civic Media to go behind the numbers:
"With Enough Data, the Numbers Speak for Themselves."
Not a chance. The promoters of big data would like us to believe that behind the lines of code and vast databases lie objective and universal insights into patterns of human behavior, be it consumer spending, criminal or terrorist acts, healthy habits, or employee productivity. But many big-data evangelists avoid taking a hard look at the weaknesses. Numbers can't speak for themselves, and data sets -- no matter their scale -- are still objects of human design. The tools of big-data science, such as the Apache Hadoop software framework,do not immunize us from skews, gaps, and faulty assumptions. Those factors are particularly significant when big data tries to reflect the social world we live in, yet we can often be fooled into thinking that the results are somehow more objective than human opinions. Biases and blind spots exist in big data as much as they do in individual perceptions and experiences. Yet there is a problematic belief that bigger data is always better data and that correlation is as good as causation.
Lesson Learned: We created the graph below using NodeXL. It shows the 5 key types of participation that visitors can engage in on the ACTion Alexandria website. In this graph, each dot represents a site visitor. Color represents how many activities site visitors have performed (e.g., orange=all 5 activities, dark blue=just 1 activity). Size also indicates the number of activities site visitors have performed. Each line represents an activity the site visitor engaged in on the website. The thickness of the lines (also referred to as edge thickness) shows the number of times a site visitor has performed an activity.
The graph highlights the following things about site participation:
Most people only perform one activity, although a significant number perform two activities.
Voting is by far the most popular way that people engage with the site.
Blog posters post many times, but don’t tend to comment on each other’s blogs.
People who engage with multiple types of activities are more likely to engage in them multiple times (i.e., have thicker lines).
SumAll.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to doing social good by analyzing data. One of the biggest challenges facing charities and non-profits is the lack of resources and data analytics at their disposal.