Nonprofits and Data

last person joined: 4 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.

Help creating data position

  • 1.  Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 14, 2019 10:47
    **cross-posted in data and Tech Decision Makers

    Those of you who have met me at NTC have heard me complain about how my data is hopelessly siloed.

    We're a pretty big organization with about 20 programs and something like 15 or 16 databases. There's no interfaces between any of these databases, and in some cases we don't even really control the data (state and federal databases, etc.).

    There's been a shakeup in staffing in the last few days and the time is right to make a play for an FTE to just handle data and reporting.

    Before I do that, I really need to come up with a clear job description. Once I have a clear job description I can figure out a title and a decent rate of pay.

    So far my job description is:
    1. create order out of chaos
    2. handle the half-dozen or so big reports we are responsible for every year.

    Any thoughts on that?

    What do you call that person? Data Analyst? Data and Analytics Specialist?

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    Colin Boyle
    Step Up Suncoast
    Sarasota, FL
    cboyle@manateecaa.org
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 2.  RE: Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 15, 2019 08:43
    Hrm, personally I would want to throw the word "integration" in there somewhere. Data Integration and Analytics Specialist?

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    Michelle Tribe
    Manager: E-Giving & Integration
    Ottawa Humane Society
    Ottawa, ON
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  • 3.  RE: Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 15, 2019 12:41
    Colin - 
    I would suggest Data Management Lead, a bit old-school but it looks like there may be room for governance work in your environment, in addition to the annual analytics and reporting. I've also heard Data Engineer recently, which I like.

    Some thoughts on what the job description might include for this role:
    • Leads an internal Data Working Group, usually answers to the CIO or similar

    • Applications: understands upstream and downstream data impacts

    • Leads data sharing agreements between data stewards

    • Advise and assist the organization on data issues and resolutions

    • Assess, recommend, and implement proactive approaches to data quality improvement


    In terms of the hands-on work, this individual would likely collaborate with others to:


    • Create rules, policies, and guidelines. 

    • Manage integrity, availability, quality of data assets

    • Lead data quality meetings to understand data priorities

    • Capture and present data requirements to developers

    • Handle the half-dozen or so big reports


    Is there a cross-departmental data team in place for this resource to draw on?  Hopefully they made it through the shake up!



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    Matt Veltkamp
    Nimbus Nonprofit Solutions
    Washington, DC
    mveltkamp@nimbusnonprofit.com
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  • 4.  RE: Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 16, 2019 09:45

    Thanks Matt,

    A big chunk of your post is going in the job description.

    The more I look at the position, the more I think this is less an "analyst" position as much as it is a "systems" position.  "Integration" is certainly part of it (Thanks, Michelle)



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    Colin Boyle
    Step Up Suncoast
    Sarasota, FL
    cboyle@manateecaa.org
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 5.  RE: Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 26, 2019 10:30
    So, anyone got any good interview questions for a data unicorn position?


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    Colin Boyle
    Step Up Suncoast
    Sarasota, FL
    cboyle@manateecaa.org
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 6.  RE: Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 26, 2019 11:00
    Given the role, I would definitely ask this one:
    What would be your main concerns during a data integration project? (See how they think about it - do they think about the things that are hard to move, like tokens for credit card processing; do they think about duplication; do they think about issues with 1-to-many vs 1-to-1 different data types, etc)

    If you get someone claiming to have experience with AI, I would always ask them to explain the difference between analytics, machine learning, and AI.

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    Kirk Schmidt
    Director, Foundation Analytics, Systems, and Operations
    STARS Air Ambulance
    Calgary, AB
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  • 7.  RE: Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 27, 2019 08:53
    Ask your NTEN peers if any can assist on a remote interview to help determine skill level if you are not comfortable with your ability to. You'd probably get a couple folks able to give 30 mins on a Zoom to assist- never hurts to ask!

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    Dar Veverka
    Director of Information Technology
    Urban Teachers
    Baltimore, MD
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  • 8.  RE: Help creating data position

    Posted Aug 27, 2019 13:02
    I like Dar's suggestion of taking the community input to the next level -- of even selecting a candidate.

    Anyway -- since your position is very integration-heavy, I'd ask the candidate to describe some of his/her integration experience with an emphasis on the project goals, what challenges were faced during this project planning+execution, and what was accomplished after the project.

    If the candidate has had experience integrating exact same systems that you have (at least some of them!) then even better!! However, you will need to make sure that the candidate is able to evaluate if the exact same solutions would work for your set up and if not, then think of variations.

    Hope this helps.

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    Medha Nanal
    Strategic Data/Database Consultant for Nonprofits (Fundraising, Operations, Programs)
    www.topcloudconsult.com
    medhananal@topcloudconsult.com
    650.600.9374
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline