Nonprofit Development: How to bridge the big data resource gap


 The Brief
Harnessing big data is the latest hurdle for nonprofit organizations, a task made more difficult by the fact that most lack the resources larger corporations can so easily earmark for it. By smartly matching strategy to goals, though, nonprofits can get data to work for them.


How can nonprofit organizations with limited resources squeeze the most from their data? Turns out, it’s all about getting better, not bigger. Numbers are important, but what’s critical is cutting through the noise to find the data science tools and processes that best serve the specific goals of your organization.

In a new white paper, RelSci’s Josh Mait argues that nonprofits must first realize that big data analysis is necessary only as far as it helps drive overall organizational goals. Orgs facing a resource gap can and should limit their data analysis to whatever drives Strategy X (engagement, fundraising, communications, etc.). Mait then outlines three steps nonprofits can employ to help bridge that data resource gap.

First, small steps are critical when it comes to implementing a data process. Data for its own sake is useless and eats up precious resources, which many nonprofits lack to begin with. Start by engaging everyone at your organization, from the top down, in a conversation about data science and what it can do for your organizational goals. Not every employee can be a data scientist, but it’s important for your staff to understand why these tools are being implemented.

Then, focus your analytics on easily obtained or already accessible data from within the organization; by doing so, your nonprofit can gain valuable information about existing strategies and programs. Studies using “medium data” are an excellent and inexpensive way to warm up for larger, more resource-intensive data projects.

To learn more about how to efficiently leverage data at your nonprofits—and explore Mait’s two other strategies for data success—download the RelSci white paper on bridging the nonprofit data resource gap.

Download Full White Paper


RelSci provides a relationship capital platform that helps create competitive advantage for organizations through a crucial yet vastly underutilized asset: relationship capital with influential decision makers. 


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