Here you will find links to stories, examples and case studies with discussion questions.

Building Capacity to Use Data

Some foundations are helping nonprofits build the capacity to use their own data (and other sources) to improve their programs.

Screenshot of www.bayesimpact.org

Bayes Impact

http://www.bayesimpact.org/stories/?name=walking-the-beat-mining-seattles-police-report-data

Data scientists at Bayes Impact analyzed Seattle’s arrest data to recommend improvements to police beats.

Screenshot of dssg.io

Data Science for Social Good

http://dssg.io/projects/

Data Science for Social Good: scientists analyzed enrolment data to help Chicago Public Schools efficiently allocate school funding.

Screenshot of www.datakind.org

DataKind

http://www.datakind.org/projects/scraping-websites-to-collect-consumption-and-price-data/

DataKind volunteer data experts used innovative technology to collect prices in real time to measure inflation to guide Kenya’s monetary policy.

Case Studies with Discussion Questions

Screenshot of www.knightfoundation.org

Using Online Data to Inform Program Strategy

http://www.knightfoundation.org/features/civictech/

The Knight Foundation partnered with Quid, a data analysis firm, to find publicly available information on public, private and philanthropic investments in “civic tech projects.” They used this to inform a taxonomy of civic tech, to map the sector, and to share funding information, as well inform their own funding decisions.  More information is available at http://www.knightfoundation.org/features/civictech/

Discussion Questions

  • How can a process like this extend the reach of landscape mapping?
  • What other data sources are needed to inform the strategy?
  • What are the costs/benefits of inviting community access to the raw data?

Screenshot of www.unglobalpulse.org

Social Media as an Input to Evaluation

http://www.unglobalpulse.org/immunisation-parent-perceptions

UNICEF, WHO, and Indonesia’s government partnered with UN Global Pulse to measure parents views’ of immunization as expressed on social media content and metadata.

This baseline measurement will allow the agencies to evaluate the efficacy of a campaign educating the public about the importance of immunizing.

Discussion Questions

  • What are the demographic limitations inherent in this dataset that the evaluators should consider?
  • What other data sources are needed to inform the evaluation?

Privacy in an afterschool program

A foundation funds an afterschool club to issue ID cards and digital readers to help keep track of program users. The digital system replaces the old paper sign-in sheets. The club had been tabulating the paper sign-in sheets each week to calculate total attendance (for grant reporting), and throwing away the originals. With the new digital system the program, individual records (including detailed information for every visit by every youth) are stored on servers going back five years. It’s much easier for the club to do its grant reporting, and individual program options have been able to offer sequential classes as they can track kids over the years.

Five years later, there are a number of violent interactions between police and neighborhood kids, which spark local protests. Protesters are arrested, and, among them, several youth are taken into custody. The digital records from the club’s attendance system are called for as evidence in the subsequent trials. The children and the families hadn’t been aware that their participation in club activities would be retained and made available in this way.

Discussion Questions

  • In what ways is the digital recordkeeping a boon to the program?
  • In what way is it a liability?
  • What should the club do differently going forward regarding its data practices?
  • How could the Foundation help the club be good stewards of digital data?

Computational Social Solutions

The development field is investing heavily in using computational data to find new solutions.

Screenshot of www.d4d.orange.com

DataForDevelopment

http://www.d4d.orange.com/en/home

DataForDevelopment: innovation challenge that invites data scientists to use a mobile dataset to discover solutions to challenges facing developing countries

Screenshot of www.datapopalliance.org

Data-Pop Alliance

http://www.datapopalliance.org/

Data-Pop Alliance: convenes, trains, and implements social sector data science projects

Foundations' Open Data Efforts

Some foundations are focused on making their digital data practices align with and accelerate their overarching strategic pursuit of mission.

Screenshot of docs.gatesfoundation.org

Gates Foundation’s Global Health Data Access Principles

https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/Documents/faq.pdf

Gates Foundation’s Global Health Data Access Principles: grant agreements default to encourage grantees to publish findings widely.

Screenshot of docs.gatesfoundation.org

Hewlett Foundation’s Policy of Openness

https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/Documents/faq.pdf

Hewlett Foundation’s policy of openness means grant agreements default to promote data-sharing.

Screenshot of www.hewlett.org

Open Educational Resources Program

http://www.hewlett.org/programs/education/open-educational-resources

Hewlett Foundation: Open Educational Resources program includes funding openly-licensed online curricula.

Making Data More Useful

Several efforts exist that focus on making existing data more useful to more users. These are often partnerships involving many organizations.

Screenshot of www.coopmetrics.coop
Screenshot of www.sasb.org

The F.B Heron Foundation

http://www.coopmetrics.coop/
http://www.sasb.org/

The F.B Heron Foundation funds shared data platforms for use by entire sectors. Some of them provide benchmarking information and others are creating industry industry accounting practices that put monetary value on externalities such as environmental harm.
For more information:

Screenshot of data.worldbank.org

The World Bank Data Visualizations

http://data.worldbank.org/products/data-visualization-tools

The World Bank data visualizations promote data use by making publically available data on geography, financial health, and other statistics easy to see and interpret.

Screenshot of www.aidtransparency.net

International Aid Transparency Initiative

http://www.aidtransparency.net/

International Aid Transparency Initiative warehouses online standardized aid information from providing and receiving countries.

New Digital Data Sets

A few foundations have separately invested in producing new digital data sets for use by the public, policymakers, and researchers.

Screenshot of feedbacklabs.org

Feedback Labs

http://feedbacklabs.org/

Feedback Labs is a collaborative effort of several nonprofits gathering and using constituent feedback – often through mobile phones – to improve their work.

More information:

http://feedbacklabs.org/

Screenshot of www.kidsdata.org

Kidsdata.org

http://www.kidsdata.org/

Kidsdata.org: Through a single search box, users can search for statistics on children’s well-being from a variety of original data sources like the Query System, Census Bureau, and others. (Funder: Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health)

Screenshot of www.countyhealthrankings.org

County Health Rankings

http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/

County Health Rankings: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded this data aggregator, which pulls data from numerous sources to rank counties by how healthy they are (using a score based on weighted metrics).

Screenshot of datacenter.kidscount.org

KidsCount Data Center

http://datacenter.kidscount.org/

KidsCount Data Center: an Annie E. Casey Foundation-funded project that allows a one-box search for a wide range of data on children’s well-being.

New Tools for Data Use

Some foundations are helping nonprofits improve their organizational effectiveness by providing them with new tools for data use.

Screenshot of support.google.com
Screenshot of www.sco.wisc.edu

Fusion Tables

https://support.google.com/fusiontables/answer/2571232?hl=en
http://www.sco.wisc.edu/images/stories/publications/SCO_quick_and_easy_web_maps_v1.1.pdf

Fusion Tables facilitates meshing datasets. Wisconsin State Cartographer’s Office gives sample use cases for nonprofits.

Screenshot of builtwith.kimonolabs.com

Kimonify

http://builtwith.kimonolabs.com/

Kimonify’s tool takes unstructured data and makes it structured.

Screenshot of www.tableausoftware.com

Tableau Software

http://www.tableausoftware.com/lousiana-state-university-data-visualization

Tableau software enabled Louisiana health providers to serve needy people more efficiently.

New Types of Enterprises

New types of enterprises are being built entirely around digital data.

Screenshot of www.trimble.com
Screenshot of www.cadalyst.com

Trimble

http://www.trimble.com/mappingGIS/index.aspx
http://www.cadalyst.com/gis/gis-leads-gleaners-garden-plenty-17410

Trimble’s GIS tool helped volunteers find more produce to glean and deliver to food banks in San Jose.

Screenshot of wiki.crisiscommons.eu

CrisisCommons

http://wiki.crisiscommons.eu/wiki/Main_Page

CrisisCommons’ online community coordinated crisis response to Japan’s earthquake.

Screenshot of creativecommons.org

Creative Commons

https://creativecommons.org/

Creative Commonsfree, legal tools facilitate the sharing and use of content.

Screenshot of wikimediafoundation.org

Wikimedia Foundation

https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home

Wikimedia Foundation hosts and enables the creation of free content.

Screenshot of www.mozilla.org

Mozilla Foundation

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/

Mozilla Foundation develops software, makes grants, promotes education and openness.

Sensor-Based Data

Data from sensors – some as far away as satellite imagery, others as close as wearable tech – are providing new insights about human behavior.

Screenshot of www.healthline.com

Glucose-Reading Contact Lenses

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/diabetes-google-develops-glucose-monitoring-contact-lens-012314

Glucose-reading contact lenses developed by GoogleX will make it easier for diabetics to monitor their health and avoid dangerous extremes in blood sugar

Screenshot of hhi.harvard.edu

Satellite Sentinel Project

http://hhi.harvard.edu/programs-and-research/crisis-mapping-and-early-warning/satellite-sentinel-project

Satellite Sentinel Project: the Harvard Humanitarian Institute, through a combination of on-the-ground reporting and satellite imagery, facilitated the coordination of crisis response in Sudan

Using Government Data Sources

Some philanthropic strategies focus on opening up or creating new representations of government data sources.

Screenshot of www.crimereports.com

CrimeReports.com

https://www.crimereports.com

CrimeReports.com aggregates information from police agencies across the country to summarize crimes by type in a specific location, plotting crimes on a map.

Screenshot of devinit.org

Open Development Initiative

http://devinit.org/

UK- and Kenya-based Open Development Initiative provides research and analysis so decision-makers can use data to address poverty.

Screenshot of www.civicdata.com

CivicData.com

http://www.civicdata.com/

CivicData.com gathers data from government databases for research.