Nonprofits and Data

last person joined: 2 days ago 

This group is for those interested in learning and sharing about all things data-related for nonprofits. The Nonprofits and Data group is for people using data to serve a mission, either directly or by improving nonprofits and the nonprofit sector. That includes everything from collecting data and managing databases to analytics, data visualization and data mining. Here are some examples of topics we discuss: using data to improve organizational effectiveness, measuring impact, using data for storytelling, tools for data management and analysis, figuring out the “right” data to collect, and learning skills to help us use data better.

Introductions

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  • 1.  Introductions

    Posted Oct 08, 2015 12:30
    No replies, thread closed.

    Welcome to the Nonprofits & Data CoP! We (Janice Chan and Judy Freed) are the co-organizers and we're excited to meet you! There are all sorts of smart, curious and skilled people in this group – and a broad array of nonprofits, data, and ways in which we use data to make the world a better place.

    Please introduce yourself! Here are a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to say whatever you would like the group to know!

    • Name
    • Where you're from
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)?
    • What are you hoping to learn?
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be…
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…)


    Janice & Judy

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 2.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 08, 2015 12:42
    No replies, thread closed.

    And of course, I can't ask you without sharing a little about myself!

    • Name: Janice Chan
    • Where you're from: Originally from NY (Queens!), but now I live in Baltimore, MD
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? These days I mostly work with program data from collection and organization through reporting/communicating it. I’m hoping to one day get beyond basic arithmetic, but baby steps, right?
    • What are you hoping to learn? I'd like to learn more about data analysis.  I don't have a statistical background, so I have a hard time trying to wrap my head around how you get from having a bunch of data points to being able to use data for decision-making purposes.
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself"
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…): it's complicated

    Feel free to reach out to me via this forum or on Twitter @curiositybone. 

    Looking forward to meeting the rest of you!

    Janice

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD
    ------------------------------


    Tech Accelerate


  • 3.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 13, 2015 11:40
    No replies, thread closed.

    Let's make it a roll call. If you haven't posted in a while, say hello! (However you like – with or without the prompts.)

     

    • Name: Judy Freed
    • Where you're from: Chicago (Lake Michigan is my Great Lakes)
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? I analyze and communicate about all sorts of constituent, digital and direct mail data: volunteering, advocacy, fundraising, acquisition and retention, ladder of engagement…website, email, social, postal mail
    • What are you hoping to learn? New tools, new resources – and I want to be part of a support group where we can help each other grow
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… David Bowie, "Changes"

     

    Judy Freed

    Marketing Strategist, Alliance for the Great Lakes

    Co-Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data CoP

    Chicago, Illinois

     




    Tech Accelerate


  • 4.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 19, 2015 10:27
    No replies, thread closed.


    Name: Isaac Shalev

    From: Stamford, CT - just outside of NYC, but part of leafy, lovely, New England

    Work: I lead Sage70 a consultancy devoted making technology work for non-profits. We do a lot of work around development databases/CRMs, fundraising consulting, marketing automation, and convincing orgs to consider alternatives to Salesforce. We work with data, but mostly, we help organizations work backwards from goals and objectives to data and metrics, and help ensure that the right data is identified, captured, and analyzed in meaningful ways. I like to say we turn data into knowledge.

    Hoping to Learn: I think we're all here to be able to ask and answer questions, and participate in a broader community of like-minded people. It's great to learn new techniques, new tools, and new ideas. But mostly, I like to learn where organizations are trying to get to, how they're changing their views on data, and what obstacles stand in their way to getting more out of data and analysis.

    Walk-up Song: Beautiful Day, U2

    Facebook Status: Data and I are in an open relationship - we both need other partners, like training, policy, process, support, strategy, budget, mission and vision to truly feel complete.

    ------------------------------
    Isaac Shalev
    http://www.sage70.com
    Stamford CT
    @Sage70
    isaac@sage70.com

    Tech Accelerate


  • 5.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Feb 07, 2017 13:08
    No replies, thread closed.
    • Name: Karen Metivier-Carreiro
    • Where you're from: Arlington, VA
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? I collect and analyze data for advocacy purposes
    • What are you hoping to learn? New tools, new data sources, new resources – I would like to learn what others are doing to help slice/dice for advocacy efforts
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Linus and Lucy by the Vince Guaraldi Trio


    ------------------------------
    Karen Metivier-Carreiro
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 6.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Feb 07, 2017 13:25
    No replies, thread closed.
    Added to the playlist...  Welcome, Karen!

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Technical Training Specialist, Development and Alumni Relations
    Johns Hopkins Institutions
    Baltimore, MD
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 7.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Nov 30, 2016 13:32
    No replies, thread closed.

    I'm a professional data analyst and software developer. Started with mainframes, then minicomputers, then PC's. Now databases.

    I'm always curious how people solve their problems with data. I also continue to be astounded at the amount of menial work people accept because they do not understand there are better ways.

    Here are my stats:

    • Name: Doug Chamberlin
    • Where you're from: Originally from outside Philadelphia but in New England for 50 years now. Currently in mid-coast Maine.
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? I'm currently ending my work with an academic research group of epidemiologists to retire. We mine databases of medical records to discover correlations between prescription drug use and previously unknown good/bad outcomes. Fascinating stuff!
    • What are you hoping to learn? I need to keep current on modern tools, methods, etc for all types of data processing.
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… A total blank, sorry.
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…): Married, for sure.
    ------------------------------
    Doug Chamberlin
    Programmer/Analyst/DBA/CIO/CTO
    Drug Research Group
    Lexington, MA

    Tech Accelerate


  • 8.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Nov 30, 2016 16:04
    No replies, thread closed.

    Hi Doug - Nice to officially meet you. The epidemiology data mining sounds so cool! I, too, am surprised at how much manual work people do when they don't understand there are easy ways to automate. In most of the nonprofits I've worked with, though, people seem very open to streamlining. And there's certainly a receptive audience for streamlining here at NTEN!

    ------------------------------
    Judy Freed
    Marketing Strategist, Alliance for the Great Lakes
    Co-Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data Community
    Chicago, Illinois

    Tech Accelerate


  • 9.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Dec 24, 2016 09:35
    No replies, thread closed.

    Hi All,

    I am software engineer in a professional environment using my skills to help a local food pantry.

    Here are my stats:

    • Name: Kent Cassidy
    • Where you're from: Originally from Houlton, Maine but now living in Dover, NH..
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? As a professional I use C# to write applications as well as Microsoft Excel and VBA to convert customer legacy data into my company's systems.  When I joined the food bank all they we tracking were client names.  I used Excel to write a data capturing system to track more detail data,  I am currently in the process of rewriting this application using C#, WPF and a MySQL database.
    • What are you hoping to learn? Looking to see how others track their non-profit's data, what data analysis they do, what tools they use for entering and tracking the data..
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Modern Day Cowboy, Tesla.
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…): Work in progress (is that an option?).
    ------------------------------
    Kent Cassidy

    Tech Accelerate


  • 10.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Dec 27, 2016 10:47
    No replies, thread closed.

    Welcome, Kent! Sounds like you're doing some important work for the food pantry!

    ------------------------------
    Judy Freed
    Marketing Strategist, Alliance for the Great Lakes
    Co-Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data Community
    Chicago, Illinois

    Tech Accelerate


  • 11.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Jan 25, 2017 18:42
    No replies, thread closed.
    Thank you Janice for creating this space!!

    Okay, here's my introduction -

    • Name: Megan Himan
    • Where you're from: Minnesota, originally, San Francisco - home!
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? I'm a nonprofit consultant focused on the Salesforce platform so I love ALL kinds of data, how it integrates with each other, how to structure it so we can report on it and get the metrics we want from it later. I particularly love working with advocacy orgs and helping organizations structure programmatic impact tracking.
    • What are you hoping to learn? Every quarter I want to learn something new. Right now I want to learn all I can about nonprofit data security and what others are doing. Also scalable impact tracking and how to replicate that across orgs.
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Right now (January 2017) I'm feeling a bit down and out with the complications in the US political arena, so I'm going to force a pickmeup song to get me up for the new fight every day "You're going to hear me Roar" by Katie Perry. There's work to be done!
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…) - So far I've been avoiding Facebook but I do NOT avoid Data. So I guess we're married!


    ------------------------------
    Megan Himan
    Founder & Principal
    BrightStep Partners
    San Francisco, CA
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 12.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 15, 2015 09:32
    No replies, thread closed.

    My turn...

    Name
    Nathan Gasser

    Where you're from: 
    The rolling hills outside Philadelphia, PA

    What kind of data do you work with
    Research data / facts & figures (global health statistics, labor market info, campaign & election data, ...)

    What are you hoping to learn? 
    We help organizations make their data available and understandable to their audience.  So I'm always studying how people react to and interact with data to learn new ways of telling stories with data.  I also love to see what other people and organizations are doing and how the results of these efforts support the mission of the organization.

    If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be…
    "I've Got It Made" by John Anderson

    If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be: 
    Married to my high school sweetheart


    ------------------------------
    Nathan Gasser
    President / Owner, Rock River Star

    Data Driven Storytelling /
    Content & Communication Strategy for Nonprofits, Foundations, Global & Public Health
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 13.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 15, 2015 09:56
    No replies, thread closed.

    I've been a member of NTEN for a while but not active on discussions. I would like to do so to connect with others in a similar line of work. 

    • Name: Betty McKibben
    • From? What's that? Live: Suburbs of Atlanta, GA, From: SC but grew up in PR and EUR.
    • I work with all kinds of data but only on the Salesforce.com platform.  Our mission is to "help our clients transform their data into actionable information that provides insights on where they stand in relation to their goals and a platform for improving growth, profitability and efficiency."
    • I do a lot of data cleansing (in Excel) and I am always looking for the best tips and tools. We use Demand Tools (free to nonprofits) and tons of formulas to weed out the junk.
    • "Maria" from Sound of Music ("How do you solve a problem like Mari 
    •  In a domestic partnership - seems like work follows me home :)


    ------------------------------
    Betty McKibben
    Bia Partners
    Marietta GA
    ------------------------------


    Tech Accelerate


  • 14.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 16, 2015 10:36
    No replies, thread closed.


    Wow, this is great!  I just learned about NTEN when I was asked to write an article and am already loving this space!

    • Name:  Cindy Plunkett
    • Where you're from: Brooklin (with an i ), Ontario, Canada
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)?:  I am the eLearning Lead and LMS Administrator for Mount Sinai Hospital.  We are a ministry of health publicly funded academic teaching hospital. We use learning data in a number of different ways from ensuring government compliance to trying to improve our use of educational technologies to better reach our audience and improve patient outcomes.
    • What are you hoping to learn?  Ways that other organizations are using big data :)
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be…  Kung Fu Fighting :)
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…)  Definitely it's complicated, I love analysing data and trying to use it for research but there's so much data and so little time!
    ------------------------------
    Cindy Plunkett
    eLearning Project Lead & LMS Administrator
    Mount Sinai Hospital
    Toronto ON

    Tech Accelerate


  • 15.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 16, 2015 10:53
    No replies, thread closed.

    Great to hear from you, Cindy, Betty and Nathan. I love the play list we could create from all our songs!

     

    Judy Freed

    Marketing Strategist, Alliance for the Great Lakes

    Co-Organizer, NTEN Nonprofits and Data CoP

    Chicago, Illinois

     




    Tech Accelerate


  • 16.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 16, 2015 11:11
    Edited by Nathan Gasser Oct 16, 2015 11:11
    No replies, thread closed.

    Great to hear from you, Cindy, Betty and Nathan. I love the play list we could create from all our songs!

    Judy Freed,  17 minutes ago

    We're definitely going to need that playlist for our CoP happy hour at #16NTC in March...

    ------------------------------
    Nathan Gasser
    President / Owner, Rock River Star

    Data Driven Storytelling \
    Content & Communication Strategy for Nonprofits, Foundations, Global & Public Health

    Tech Accelerate


  • 17.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 16, 2015 15:53
    No replies, thread closed.

    We're definitely going to need that playlist for our CoP happy hour at #16NTC in March...

    Nathan Gasser,  2 hours ago

    Eeeee!

    ------------------------------
    Bethany Lister
    Community Program Manager
    Nonprofit Technology Network
    bethany@nten.org

    Tech Accelerate


  • 18.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 17, 2015 22:17
    No replies, thread closed.


    Started (please let me know if it should be another version): NTEN Nonprofits & Data CoP Walk-up Songs, a playlist by curiositybone on Spotify

    However, it's currently not even a happy quarter-hour playlist...could we get some help filling out this list?

    Spotify remove preview
    NTEN Nonprofits & Data CoP Walk-up Songs, a playlist by curiositybone on Spotify
    A playlist featuring Carl Douglas, Evadne Baker, John Anderson, and others
    View this on Spotify >
    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD

    Tech Accelerate


  • 19.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 20, 2015 11:37
    No replies, thread closed.


    Hi all! New to the CoP so wanted to say hello and join in the introductions. 

    • Name: Andi Argast
    • Where you're from: Toronto, ON (well, that's where I live. I'm from the west coast originally :)
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? We collect and analyze program and social media data mostly, but we also have a research project where we audit Canadian nonprofits' websites (using a standardized matrix), so we also work with that data. We're partnering with another organization to publish the website data later this month/early November.
    • What are you hoping to learn? Resources & tools, of course. But also processes - we're a small nonprofit, so always curious about how other small orgs balance everything.
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Take Your Mama by the Scissor Sisters
    ------------------------------
    Andi Argast
    Strategist, TimeraiserPlus
    Framework Foundation
    Toronto ON

    Tech Accelerate


  • 20.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 20, 2015 22:38
    No replies, thread closed.


    Hello Isaac and welcome Andi!  So glad that you mentioned process and data's other partners.  Also, some great additions to our playlist! :)

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD

    Tech Accelerate


  • 21.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 21, 2015 12:51
    No replies, thread closed.


    Hi everyone!

    Name:  Stacy Clinton


    Where you're from:  I work in Palo Alto, CA. Spent most of my life in the Bay Area, with stints in Bordeaux, Boston, and Los Angeles.


    What kind of data do you work with and how: Constituent data and list segmentation, Google Analytics and AdWords data, social media data, grant data... I touch it all, but with very little strategy. I'm hoping to solidify processes and make it easier for everyone. We don't do fundraising and we don't have direct programs to manage, but we need to measure the impact of our communications and our grants.  On the flip side, we have a website called www.kidsdata.org where we curate public data about child health and well-being in CA and make it available in many forms for others to use on behalf of kids. We try to advocate for data to be made open and accessible to the public, and we also try to make our site very user-friendly with lots of data visualization tools.

    What are you hoping to learn? How other orgs are creating systems to track internal data. How people work with open data. How to measure the impact of our work.


    If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Over the Hills and Far Away by Led Zeppelin (no reason really, except I love that song)


    If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be... it's complicated. I have concerns about privacy and our society's over-sharing of personal information with companies who are motivated to use it for monetary gain. It's nice to be able to use it for social good, but I worry that we are giving up too much... maybe we already have?

    ------------------------------
    Stacy Clinton
    Web Manager, Programs & Partnerships
    Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health
    Palo Alto CA

    Tech Accelerate


  • 22.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 22, 2015 12:15
    No replies, thread closed.


    I've been actively monitoring the NTEN goings on for years.  After starting out life as a social worker, I drank the "Cloud Kool Aid" in 2005 and have since been helping folks leverage the efficiencies of the Cloud via Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) products.  My initial efforts to get the non-profit community interested in Cloud Computing were not well received (I offered a workshop on it at NTEN New Orleans a LONG time ago that was attended by three folks!) so I moved on to folks in the corporate world who were more open to this particular approach to IT design. Since then, I've been lucky enough to work with folks on leveraging emerging cloud technologies and capacity. In my view, the pace of innovation is mind blowing. 

    I'm wondering again whether or not we can get a few folks together who would be interested in trying to give birth to a "Non Profit IT Cooperative".  The high level concept is an infrastructure that is owned and operated by and for it's non-profit members.  Like an apartment coop, it's a multi-tenant place where like minded organizations are pooling resources with others for the benefit of all. I see what small businesses are doing in this new paradigm and would love to see non-profits doing similar stuff.  A small non-profit may not have the wherewithal to deploy something like Power BI dashboards to decision makers and case managers, as an example, but if the tool set, developers and training was included in the "rent", maybe they could.  I also envision member/tenants contributing uniform meta-data for slicing and dicing by folks who know what they are doing for studies of things like clinical success.

    If anyone would be interested in talking about the concept, I'd love to participate. Even if you think it's the worst idea ever, I would love to hear why.   

    Please introduce yourself! Here are a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to say whatever you would like the group to know!

    • Paul Kerness
    • New Jersey (NY Metro)
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? I work mostly on the architect and engineering level, but I still get my hands dirty sometimes.  While I'd rather be analyzing clinical case management data, it's mostly stuff like "sales revenue variance by region year over year shown on a map" today.
    • What are you hoping to learn? If there is anyone in the non-profit ecosphere who shares my vision of the power of the emerging cloud paradigm and wants to work towards leveraging it. 
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be…Cake's Version of "I Will Survive" always pumps me up.
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be: I'm more like a marriage counselor.  I try to get folks to love the data they already have.
    ------------------------------
    Paul Kerness
    CIO
    Genii Research, LLC
    Newark NJ

    Tech Accelerate


  • 23.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 22, 2015 16:01
    No replies, thread closed.


    Well, you had me at playlist. How could I not join in such a great thread? It's been such fun to get to know people...and learning more those I've met around the group. Here's me:

    • Name: Megan Keane
    • Where you're from: San Francisco bay area (though I was born in Wisconsin)
    • What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)? Membership and communications data - mostly the two together on both the data collection/analysis and the communications side of things.
    • What are you hoping to learn? I'd like to do it more effectively or here more about how people have made small changes within challenging database limitations.
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Penguins by Lyle Lovett (I am a big penguin nut, so naturally a song about penguins is the only logical choice).
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be: it's complicated
    ------------------------------
    Megan Keane
    Membership Director
    Nonprofit Technology Network
    megan@nten.org

    Tech Accelerate


  • 24.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 27, 2015 09:28
    No replies, thread closed.


    Hello Stacy, Paul, and Megan!  Some interesting ideas, such as the co-op idea, and food for thought, like privacy concerns--both in terms of the data we might be sharing for the sake of convenience, or the data we may be collecting on others and how we use or store or share that data.  If you're working with data in health care or within an institutional research setting, there are certain rules and protocols, but there's a lot of areas without such guidelines.  Glad to have you all join us in this conversation!

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD

    Tech Accelerate


  • 25.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 27, 2015 10:39
    No replies, thread closed.


    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.  I know it might be hard to believe, but today's multi-tenant infrastructures are flexible and secure enough to be fully HIPAA compliant while still being able to benefit from pooled resources.  It's kind of along the lines of a bunch of individual companies sharing an office park. They are each separate entities and need to be secure in their own right.  Now that they are pooling resources they can, as an example, get a 24 hour security guard to watch over the place for the good of everyone.  One could argue that each business is individually now MORE secure in this scenario. Now that we can easily and inexpensively build separate and distinct virtual infrastructures that pull from a dynamically shared fabric of resources, it can work the same way. 

    While there are monumental challenges to building a non-profit IT cooperative, I'd argue that "security" and "separation" isn't the deal breaker. The way I see it, the paradigm has changed.  We can start to think about doing things with shared meta-data and non-profits that we couldn't until very recently. One of the biggest bars that historically hampered the non-profit world's ability to benefit from advances in data analysis technology, the cost of the technology itself, is now dramatically lower.  Imagine if we had dozens of drug treatment centers feeding PII redacted treatment plans, counseling transcripts, etc. data to a common database so smart folks can slice and dice it to derive insights into the long term clinical success of individual programs and behavior modification techniques.  If that never happens, it would be because we can't get enough non-profits that want to know and/or resources for the database developers to set up SQL, et.al. to do it.  It would NOT be because we couldn't afford the servers, switches, firewalls, software, cabling, etc. in a data center that we'd need.  We can get those going for nothing.  

    ------------------------------
    Paul Kerness
    CIO
    Genii Research, LLC
    Newark NJ

    Tech Accelerate


  • 26.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 27, 2015 12:29
    No replies, thread closed.

    It's kind of along the lines of a bunch of individual companies sharing an office park. They are each separate entities and need to be secure in their own right.  Now that they are pooling resources they can, as an example, get a 24 hour security guard to watch over the place for the good of everyone.  One could argue that each business is individually now MORE secure in this scenario.

    Paul Kerness,  1 hours ago

    Paul, this is a great analogy that helps illustrate a concern I have.  In the above example, if you had 10 organizations (businesses or non-profits) who wanted to share the benefits of an office park, it would be critical to have the team building, managing, leasing, securing, and cleaning it be a team skilled and focussed on doing that.

     If one of the partners, say an office-supply store or an animal rescue shelter, took on all the various responsibilities of managing that office park -- even if they hired a dedicated team of individuals with years of experience just doing that -- that partner risks diluting their own focus and compromising their own effectiveness at their mission, trying to serve what started out as a simple cost-saving initiative.

    If instead the partners created a new organization tasked solely with managing that office park, it would be important to consider whether the overhead represented by this new organization justified the cost savings returned to the partners.  That is, would these 10 organizations be better off moving into existing office parks rather than undertaking the effort of commissioning and governing a new organization?  There might be particular commonalities and synergies that make these 10 organizations benefit from being in the same office park, but does that limit their flexibility if -- for example -- the group initially chooses 6am-10pm security, and a year later one partner determines they need 24-hour security?

     In full disclosure I must point out:

    • I'm a for-profit vendor of services to non-profit organizations, that strives to bring high-quality solutions to non-profits at affordable rates, so you can spot me in my analogy above.
    • Prior to that I worked for a non-profit that was housed in a non-profit office/research park.  The leadership brought in people with "corporate experience" to "run things the way a business would" and shut down our non-proft because we weren't bringing in enough money.
    • I'm a champion devil's advocate, all-state wet-blanket-thrower, and accomplished sail-wind-taker-outer.  Yet I'm an eternal optimist and want nothing more than to see ideas, organizations, and people succeed.  I guess caution is my love language.
    ------------------------------
    Nathan Gasser
    President / Owner, Rock River Star

    Data Driven Storytelling \
    Content & Communication Strategy for Nonprofits, Foundations, Global & Public Health

    Tech Accelerate


  • 27.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 28, 2015 13:14
    No replies, thread closed.


    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I personally think that this is a great conversation to have and appreciate the chance to engage.  

    “In the above example, if you had 10 organizations (businesses or non-profits) who wanted to share the benefits of an office park, it would be critical to have the team building, managing, leasing, securing, and cleaning it be a team skilled and focused on doing that.”

    That’s 100% accurate and, as I see it, a large part of why you’d want to pool resources in the first place.  The “management team” performs all the “keeping the lights on” stuff so the organization can spend their IT resources solving their unique business problems.  As the “maintenance team”, for example, I can reset a password for a user that’s forgotten it, upgrade everyone to Office 2016 or research and fix a failed Windows Server Update without knowing a thing about your business.  Whatever time you spend doing that kind of housekeeping I think is a waste of valuabvle knowledge resources.  You should be spending your time using the unique knowledge of your workflow and pain points that I’ll never have.

    -- that partner risks diluting their own focus and compromising their own effectiveness at their mission, trying to serve what started out as a simple cost-saving initiative.

    It’s not about saving money at all.  It’s about giving smaller folks who otherwise couldn’t a chance to better leverage technology as a strategic asset. The office park analogy is OK, but it’s not perfect.  On this level, I’d offer up a hipster Brooklyn “food coop” as a better one.  If you join a food coop maybe it’s because you want a trusted source for organic, locally grown heirloom tomatoes. It’s probably not because you want the cheapest tomato. There’s Aldi for that.

    it would be important to consider whether the overhead represented by this new organization justified the cost savings returned to the partners

    That’s true.  As with any cooperative, the owner/members would have to make cost/benefit decisions collectively and regularly.  Do you want the Microsoft Dynamics ERP system to dynamically update your company’s Visio Organizational Chart when a new hire is made?  Of course you do.  Is that worth $X?  That’s up to the collective.

    There might be particular commonalities and synergies that make these 10 organizations benefit from being in the same office park, but does that limit their flexibility if….

    There is always going to be some limit on what you can do within your “unit” I suppose, but I can’t remember many specific instances where that’s happened in practice.  The question for everyone is whether those limits are offset by the benefits.  Some folks yes, some no I’d reckon. If you live in a condo complex, you might get a Jacuzzi to use but you probably can’t paint your lanai railing any color you want.  That’s OK with some folks, but a deal breaker for others.

    A bigger problem was that it used to be much harder to bill companies individually for the compute resources that they used.  One company with 20 users, for example, could be using 3x more CPU than a company with 40 users and we had no way to fairly parse that out.  Now we can do that kind of stuff.  In fact, I recently saved a company a lot of money because they needed crazy high resources during the day, but almost none at night.  Since they had to build for peak, it meant they were buying resources that sat around doing nothing most of the time.  Since the only time I can promise you that your server won’t be compromised is when it’s off, and we can now bill by the compute hour, they get something that’s more secure and costs much less.  That doesn’t happen all that much!

    As far as the synergies of the charter coop members, I think that’s monumentally important, especially at first.  My personal vision would be a collective of several drug treatment centers that are willing to capture and share data with the hope of gaining insights into what’s working best clinically for which demographics.  Most likely, very few drug treatment centers could afford to implement a system that could do that on their own.  Maybe with 10 or so teaming up, though, they could.

    Don’t misunderstand, Nathan, I know how crazy this sounds.  It’s just that in the past even if you could get past the MONUMENTAL challenges of setting up a management structure, getting charter members on board, etc. you’d still need a huge budget just for the hardware, software, data center, firewall, cabling, etc.  That last part is no longer true, but I have no idea if that matters. 

    Quick story, when I set up our first IaaS infrastructure in 2005, it took nearly a year and $500,000.  We’re still paying that off if you ask our accountant.  I recently put together a build in Azure with the exact same capacity, scalability, availability, etc. (even more of all that stuff in reality).  It took less than a week (I didn’t work on it exclusively though) and my compute bill was UNDER $5.  That’s because I only fired the servers up when I was working on them. I think it's a major paradigm shift that some nonprofits could leverage.

    Paul

    PS we should probably start a new thread if we are going to take it further.  If anything doesn't make sense, please forgive me.  The Mets had me up WAY past my bedtime last night.

    ------------------------------
    Paul Kerness
    CIO
    Genii Research, LLC
    Newark NJ

    Tech Accelerate


  • 28.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 29, 2015 08:55
    No replies, thread closed.

    Great give and take and some good points/food for thought both.  However, Paul, I do agree with you that a new thread would be a good idea if you would like to continue the conversation. 

    For everyone else, if you have an idea or topic you would like to explore with the smart folks within the Nonprofits & Data CoP, please--introduce yourself here but feel free to start new threads!

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD

    Tech Accelerate


  • 29.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 29, 2015 11:25
    No replies, thread closed.

    Seems to me that SaaS models and other kinds of commoditized/productized sharing like WeWork are a strong model for overcoming the barriers to collaboration. The terms of the collaboration are sharply defined, so NPOs spend less time hammering out a shared structure. The hub-and-spoke model of responsibility, with the vendor at the center responsible to some SLA, matches with traditional vendor relationships. The community layer, the areas where nonprofits interact with one another, whether that's the WeWork lounge or the SaaS message boards and conferences, provide opportunities to connect and collaborate, and that's entirely divorced from the turf fights or frictions that arise from the sharing of a scarce resource in more traditional nonprofit collaborations. Are there opportunities to extend this model further in the nonprofit space?

    ------------------------------
    Isaac Shalev
    http://www.sage70.com
    Stamford CT
    @Sage70
    isaac@sage70.com

    Tech Accelerate


  • 30.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 29, 2015 13:24
    No replies, thread closed.

    I sure think so.  What I’m fantasizing about is a shared, Enterprise Class infrastructure (IaaS) in which all data and resources are created, accessed and stored in the data center.  It’s shared in such a way that it leverages economy of scale.  As a basic example, let’s say we had 20 residential drug treatment centers each with 50 end users and an IT budget of $75,000.  That’s 1,000 users and $1.5 million a year collectively if my math is right.  As I’m sure you’d agree, you’re not going to be able to do much for your end users if you’ve got 50 of them and 75K a year to work with.  You probably aren’t going to be able to be slicing and dicing unstructured treatment plan and notes data to gain insight into what mix of group vs. individual therapies are most successful given different cohorts. 

    My “wholesale” costs as I write this of providing a complete infrastructure - from the presentation layer (desktop) on up - for a typical non-profit comes to about $27 a month per user.  In a cooperative (where nobody needs to make money), that means that the cost of a common base infrastructure equal or exceeding what many folks have today would run around $324,000 a year.  That includes the licenses, backup, break fix support, antivirus, Office 2016, etc.  That means we’d have, as a cooperative, $1.176 million annually to spend on other things.  Those other things would (hopefully) include database developers, SQL Instances, data analysts, ERP, CRM, etc.  

    Hey, do you want to start a new thread? I'd love to continue the dialogue, even if it's just you and me paying attention. I appreciate your analysis and wet blanketing.

    ------------------------------
    Paul Kerness
    CIO
    Genii Research, LLC
    Newark NJ

    Tech Accelerate


  • 31.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 29, 2015 13:30
    No replies, thread closed.

    I'm still here, Paul. ;-)

    I think that my dog in the race is about scale. We all agree on the premise that a way for NPOs to pool resources and lower the cost of technology maintenance is a good goal, and the cloud solutions available put that type of savings in reach. And I think that there are nonprofits that could benefit from the kind of shared private cloud pitch that you're making. But I think that most small and/or budget-constrained nonprofit can do more than just move to scalable cloud infrastructures, but also drop a lot of the technical requirements placed on them by going to SaaS solutions. It's what I'm doing with my 100 user organization. We are significantly lowering the cost and complexity of our internal technology by outsourcing everything to Salesforce, Box and Office 365. There are certainly still orgs that need traditional networks like the type that you describe, but there's liability and expense in your model that, depending on the NPOs comfort and ability to outsource to larger cloud services, will be more cost-effective and sustainable.

    ------------------------------
    Peter Campbell
    CIO
    Legal Services Corporation
    Washington DC

    Tech Accelerate


  • 32.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Oct 30, 2015 10:11
    No replies, thread closed.

    Hey Peter! It's been a while and I hope this finds you well. At a high level, I'm just dreaming about a few folks pooling resources to up the game a bit.  I'll always be a social worker at heart and I think it's now possible. Not likely or easy, just possible, and that's only my opinion.

    While you and I are about to engage in a discussion on the virtues of DropBox vs. OneDrive, people on the top technology CoP: Data Discussion site for some other industry are reacting to yesterday's announcement that "In-Memory OLTP with extended T-SQL surface area plus in-memory columnstore that delivers queries up to 100 times faster" is now in public preview on Azure.  I have no idea what that means or if it's a good thing.  What I do know is that we can now build infrastructures that would have required tons of capital just a few years ago - and we don't have to start paying for them until we move in. Even then, it's pay as you grow.  Something in my gut tells me that should matter somehow, but I'm not smart enough to know for sure and I've been wrong plenty.  The pace of innovation is mind boggling (and least to my small mind).  I'd love to see us start to think about how we can leverage this new paradigm. Does that make any sense? Does anyone think the concept is worth exploring? If so, let's start a new thread.

    ------------------------------
    Paul Kerness
    CIO
    Genii Research, LLC
    Newark NJ

    Tech Accelerate


  • 33.  Introductions

    Posted Nov 16, 2015 11:10
    No replies, thread closed.

    Hello everyone - I'm new to the forum and before I get too lost in the threads, better introduce myself

    • Name - Susanna Kemp
    • Where you're from - based in Takoma Park, MD which is just half a mile over the border with DC.  I come from the UK and have been in the US since 1997.
    • What kind of data do you work with? - I work for software company called ASAPConnected, based in CA.  We have registration software for community arts organizations, my area, and adult education/after school organizations.  I'm responsible for getting clients up and running on our software and as such, work with data in all its glory, from old Filemaker Pro files, endless excel spreadsheets and then transferred into and analyzed by our software. 
    • What are you hoping to learn?  I'm mostly interested in the different ways non-profits handle data, how they use it and where the gaps are both in use and access
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be… Funny I just presented at the National Guild for Community Arts Organizations and sadly there was no opportunity for a walk up song. Unofficially, its likely to be 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' which helps me to find the humor in this work when its at its most elusive
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…) in an open relationship.  OK as we are but i'm always looking for new approaches :)
    ------------------------------
    Susanna Kemp
    Director Community Arts
    ASAP | Administrative Software Applications, Inc.
    ------------------------------
    Tech Accelerate


  • 34.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Nov 17, 2015 09:09
    No replies, thread closed.
    Hey there, neighbor!  (Well, sort of, I'm in Baltimore but that's not very far relatively speaking.)  Welcome to the group, Susanna!  Look forward to hearing about your experiences as well.  And fixing the lack of walk-up song :)



    Tech Accelerate


  • 35.  Introduction

    Posted Feb 04, 2016 16:36
    No replies, thread closed.

    Hello NTEN community,

    I appreciate a reminder from Janice to introduce!

    • Name: Hetal Sheth
    • Where you're from: Bay Area! 
    • What kind of data do you work with? (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)?

            All of the above! We are deep into data-driven evidence strategy and technology for foundations and nonprofits. I am a co-founder of a           nonprofit Ektta who engage with other nonprofits to help them understand data collection process, building measurable metrics and               technology solution readiness. Our technology partner SoPact armed with great impact evidence technology solution to understand               program evaluation and collective impact of a foundation or a nonprofit organization. SoPact is a cloud platform designed to aggregate           portfolio’s projects, grantees and investees impact data within a short time.

              Come and say hello to us at BOOTH #822

    • What are you hoping to learn? This is my first NTEN and excited to be an attendee and Exhibitor. I am here to learn and meet many foundations and nonprofits looking to amplify their social impact by increasing their capacity and transparency. What is working for them and what are the challenges to compare my notes!
    • If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be.....O Re Piya in The Rolling Deep..... By Shankar Tucker (Fusion)
    • If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…) In Harmony.
    ------------------------------
    Hetal Sheth
    Ektta/SoPact
    Fremont CA
    ------------------------------
    Tech Accelerate


  • 36.  RE: Introduction

    Posted Feb 06, 2016 16:32
    No replies, thread closed.

    Welcome Hetal!

    ------------------------------
    Bethany Lister
    Community Program Manager
    Nonprofit Technology Network
    bethany@nten.org

    Tech Accelerate


  • 37.  RE: Introduction

    Posted Feb 08, 2016 10:48
    No replies, thread closed.

    Welcome, Hetal!  And what an awesome song mash-up (?)...  Playlist updated!

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD

    Tech Accelerate


  • 38.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Jul 21, 2016 15:05
    No replies, thread closed.

    Hey everyone, I'm seeing some new/returning faces, and I am super excited you're sharing your knowledge + experience with us, in addition to asking fantastic questions.  Consider this your invitation to introduce yourself on this thread and help us build our walk-up song playlist! 

    ------------------------------
    Janice Chan
    Program & Curriculum Development Manager
    Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
    Baltimore MD

    Tech Accelerate


  • 39.  RE: Introductions

    Posted Aug 12, 2016 20:50
    No replies, thread closed.

    Name

    Oz du Soleil

    Where you're from

    Chicago. Moved to Portland August 2014

    What kind of data do you work with (program, communications, fundraising, advocacy, etc.) and how (collect, analyze, communicate, etc.)?

    Excel and data are my whole life. I've worked in: Sales Ops, commissions & compensation, cleansing crap data in databases; project management; inventory; on and on ...

    My specialties are in data cleansing and data collection. I don't do hardcore, stats-heavy analysis.

    What are you hoping to learn?

    I want to learn how NPOs use Excel and data, and see how I can help.

    If you had a walk-up or entrance song, it would be…

    The Payback, James Brown

    Nothing happens if data is a mess. So, anything or anyone who messes up data needs to, "get ready, you mutha, for the big payback."

    If you and data were Facebook official, your relationships status would be (married, in a relationship, it’s complicated, we are NOT friends…)

    I'm one of data's bodyguards

    ------------------------------
    Oz du Soleil
    YouTube channel focused on Excel and Data-Cleansing
    https://www.youtube.com/c/OzduSoleilDATA

    Microsoft Excel MVP
    https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/PublicProfile/5001226?fullName=Oz%20du%20Soleil