Category: Field Notes

Data for Healthy Hearts: Measuring the Impact of the Wireless Heart Health Program in Rural China

Doctors Ren Nianbao and Xie Guangguo have worked at the Lang Mao Shan Clinic in rural China for 20 years. Approximately one-fifth of their patients suffer from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), one of the leading causes of death in China. In the past, the clinic relied on a conventional, 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) machine to screen for […]

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Building a Culture of Evaluation: Empowering the Social Sector to Put Data to Good Use

Picture this: I’m standing in front of a room of dozens of social sector professionals, ranging from Executive Directors to program assistants, and I ask, as I often do, “Raise your hand if you have taken a statistics course before.” As usual, a majority of hands go up. “Now keep your hand up if you […]

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Resources for Responsible Data Use in Humanitarian Action

Humanitarian aid and disaster response groups are regularly faced with the promise and peril of digital data and infrastructure. The opportunities to use real time satellite imagery, to improve communications in dangerous situations, and to experiment with social media feeds for information on the fly are tempting. At the same time, the ethical demands to […]

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Making Giving Day Count: Demystifying Giving Day Technology

There are more than 1,000 online giving platforms, but only one matters for your giving day – the one you chose. The Pittsburgh Foundation and 47 other foundations found that out the hard way during this year’s Give Local America Day when technology ground giving to a halt. Technology is increasingly ubiquitous and always evolving, […]

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Five Lessons in Investing for Impact

“As we approach nearly a decade of using the term ‘impact investing,’ what can the industry learn from microfinance, particularly when it comes to impact measurement, evidence, and expectations?” For those of you who are familiar with Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), it won’t surprise you to know that this was one of the […]

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Metrics from the Ground Up

Measurement is about more than accountability. It has the potential to build more impactful businesses, improve resource allocation, and support sector-wide efficiency. When impact metrics are integrated with financial and operational metrics, they can help organizations develop better products and services, make better investment decisions, and become more efficient in achieving impact. To that end, […]

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New Brief Envisions “Humanitarian Data Ecosystem” Founded on Responsible Data

A new UNOCHA concept brief outlines a framework for data responsibility as practice and culture among humanitarian organizations.

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Clear Goals, Uncertain Impact: CEP report analyzes the role of transparency in foundation grantmaking

Transparency – it’s a hot button issue in the ongoing discussion of data use in the social good sector, among other fields. But what exactly does it mean to foundations and grantees, and how is it tied to effectiveness in philanthropy? The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) explored these and other questions in a recently […]

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Beattie’s Story: A case study in visualizing small data

  It’s been said before: if big data is about machines, then small data is about people. By their very nature, small data are accessible, informative and actionable—all useful things to have in your toolbox if you communicate around social good. These days I find a lot of small organizations are feeling the pressure to […]

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Locking the Web Open

  On June 8 in San Francisco, passionate data geeks and web users like you and me are invited to help design the World Wide Web for the future. The “Locking the Web Open” summit taking place at the Internet Archive is open to activists, citizens, techies, thinkers, designers, and all those committed to participating […]

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