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.
Data scientists at Bayes Impact analyzed Seattle’s arrest data to recommend improvements to police beats.
Case Studies with Discussion Questions
Using Online Data to Inform Program Strategyhttp://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/
- 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?
Social Media as an Input to Evaluationhttp://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.
- 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.
- 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.
Foundations' Open Data Efforts
Some foundations are focused on making their digital data practices align with and accelerate their overarching strategic pursuit of mission.
Gates Foundation’s Global Health Data Access Principleshttps://docs.gatesfoundation.org/Documents/faq.pdf
Gates Foundation’s Global Health Data Access Principles: grant agreements default to encourage grantees to publish findings widely.
Hewlett Foundation’s Policy of Opennesshttps://docs.gatesfoundation.org/Documents/faq.pdf
Hewlett Foundation’s policy of openness means grant agreements default to promote data-sharing.
Open Educational Resources Programhttp://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.
The F.B Heron Foundationhttp://www.coopmetrics.coop/
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:
The World Bank Data Visualizationshttp://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.
New Digital Data Sets
A few foundations have separately invested in producing new digital data sets for use by the public, policymakers, and researchers.
New Tools for Data Use
Some foundations are helping nonprofits improve their organizational effectiveness by providing them with new tools for data use.
New Types of Enterprises
New types of enterprises are being built entirely around digital data.
Data from sensors – some as far away as satellite imagery, others as close as wearable tech – are providing new insights about human behavior.
Glucose-Reading Contact Lenseshttp://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
Satellite Sentinel Projecthttp://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.