Charities all rely on research and data to assist in making decisions within the organization. These can include finding the answers to questions like how much to spend on internal growth, who to solicit and advertise to, determining the next location for a promotional event, or perhaps track the latest news and trends within relevant public and/or government entities. The list goes on of course, and Nonprofit Quarterly has suggested that charities in the future will begin using individuals who are capable of research, analysis, and asking the right questions for the benefit of their nonprofit. Nonprofit Quarterly terms these types of people “Data Scientists” and goes on to explain their role.
There’s a disturbing but not surprising trend within many charities today: most do not process or analyze information in an effective way, even in a world where information is literally at anyone’s fingertips with a keyboard. The amount of information available to us today versus a few decades ago has exponentially risen, but it’s not simply a matter of being able to search Google; Data Scientists will be able to sift through the sheer volumes of overwhelming noise and focus on finding facts relevant to the objective at hand.
More importantly, Data Scientists will enable others in an organization to focus on the bigger picture. Armed with effective intelligence and information, charities can move towards growing their donations and public profile with confidence. Knowledge is power, and charities aren’t exempt from this rule. Big Data represents a huge opportunity within the nonprofit sector. If you find yourself or your charity lacking in the research department or struggling to make sense out of overwhelming amounts of information, adding someone with the skills and tools to harness that potential could be exactly what you need.