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Forcing Nonprofits To Lie About Data

  Here’s a truth that’s rarely spoken: if a key funder asks a nonprofit for data it doesn’t really have, it’s standard practice for nonprofits to simply invent plausible data to fill the gaps.   On its face, this seems outrageous. As a sector, how can we ever hope to…

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Evaluation is Dead! Long Live Evaluation!

In The Death of Evaluation, Andrew Means writes an obituary for “traditional, social science driven program evaluation.” His second post, The Role of Data, more finely articulates his argument. This post is my reaction to both, as well as my reflections on the appropriate role of evaluation and data in…

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Beth Kanter: Doing The Math Ourselves

The Social Sector in broad view:those who fund it, drive it, and benefit from it. What are the skills and mindsets that nonprofits need to embrace data for social change? Guest blogger Beth Kanter talks about data-literacy as an in-house necessity for nonprofits. In a resource constrained world, many nonprofits…

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Speeding The Convergence of Impact and Profit

Notes From The Field: Nikon Rasumov, co-founder of Pullapproach outlines a route to data collection with lower transaction costs and, thus, a shorter route to impact for social enterprises. … The father of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), R.E. Freeman, argued almost 30 years ago that all for-profits should consider their…

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Why Data Minimization Is An Important Concept In The Age of Big Data

  Data is a good thing, and as we know you can never have too much of a good thing, right? And as Bernard Marr asks in his recent piece, “bigger is always better, right?”   As big data continues to grow and become more easily accessible, Marr raises the…

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No numbers without stories, no stories without numbers

  Philanthropoids, donors and nonprofit leaders want (and use) data for different reasons. Philanthropoids and donors hope to compare options and allocate investments while nonprofit leaders hope to learn and prove impact using data. But in all cases, the data they seek needs to tell a story and have a…

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Creating A Culture of Continuous Improvement Based On Data

  I’m always on the look out for useful and thought provoking resources on how nonprofits can use data to make better decisions that lead to greater impact. So, when Mary K Winkler, one of the nonprofit data nerds I follow on Twitter and Senior Research Associate at Urban Institute’s…

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Data Visualization: What Is It? What’s It Good For?

Debra Anderson, Instructor at the New School, Co-Founder at DataCoLab, Founder & CEO at CultureShock offers a brief examination of the current landscape and highlighting the benefit and value of DV for Social Good including: What is Data Visualization (DV)? Which organizations have used it effectively – and to what…

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The “What” and The “How” of Big Data

Here’s a discussion on big data and analytics and their potential application within the social sector. Sunand Menon walks through the landscape, adding further comment on analysis (the skills we’re using to make sense of data) and analytics (the tools being developed to help that work.) This kind of exploration…

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A Quest To Incorporate Quantitative Data Into Qualitative Storytelling: Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco’s Experience

  We’ve seen the headlines: the San Francisco Bay Area is experiencing a serious housing crisis. As of August 2015, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties had median home prices of $1.35 million, $1.3 million and $1.2 million, respectively. A buyer in these three counties would need to make…

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