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Helping Non-Profit Organizations as a Data Scientist

Data Scientists are considered to be highly technical professionals and are typically seen exercising their talent in conventional business industries. However, Data Science is a problem-solving field. Therefore, it can be applied in any field that uses set of data and determines patterns to make decisions. For this reason, Data Scientists have the ability to add value to non-profit organizations.

Big Data and Non-profit Organizations

Like many other business organizations, non-profit organizations are also collecting data. However, most don’t have a clear idea as to how this data can help their cause. It is also significant to mention that such organizations usually don’t have a Data Science team. Therefore, there is a lack of experts on an internal level to guide them on this matter.

On the other hand, the Big Data trend is steadily catching on at a global scale. So it is not surprising that non-profit organizations are also getting on the same bandwagon. Many are now delving into the study of determining how Data Science can help deepen and widen the impact of their actions. This means that Data Scientists have new opportunities to exploit. With the awareness of Data Science and its many developments reaching new sectors, Data Scientists can now harness the power of their skills for unique purposes.

Data Scientists Helping Non-profit Organizations

If Data Scientists begin to invest their efforts in options other than typical business industries, they will discover how far and wide their skills and experience can be helpful.

Non-profit organizations are mostly run with the help of funds. It is incredibly difficult to gain these funds and depends on factors like location and type of cause the non-profit organization works for. One of the most important accomplishments non-profit organizations have to make is to give proof that their efforts for a certain case are impactful; making a positive change. This attracts more people to provide funds and voluntary efforts.

If non-profit organizations could get access to the wonders of Data Science, the process of getting funds and proving the impact could be optimized. Better optimization will obviously produce a more positive result for all the entities involved.

However, most non-profit organizations don’t find it easy to gain access to Data Science. We have to admit that Data Science team is not easy to afford. Moreover, most of the talent is centered in the business sector. It is time we admit that this gap of resource needs to be overcome. In the same line of thought, it should be mentioned that Big Data and Data Science can not only provide smarter solutions at consumer end but actually bring a positive change for humanity.

How Can Non-profit Organizations Access Data Science?

It is possible that well-established non-profit organizations can find enough funds or start a specific campaign for Data Science funds. Such organizations have been around for years and have a repute associated with them.

On the other hand, smaller or younger non-profit organizations will have to suffer from a bigger gap of resource when it comes to hiring a Data Science team. For such situations, freelance Data Science experts can provide their help. Also, there are Data Science projects that bring Data Scientists from different parts of the world to volunteer. One such project is known as DataKind.

How can Data Scientists Add Value to Non-profit Organizations?

Here is how data scientist can play their role to improve the impact of non-profit organizations:

Marketing

Marketing is as important for non-profit organizations as it is for conventional business companies. In fact, it is a safe assumption that it may be more important because non-profit organizations are not exactly offering a monetary value to the people who fund them.

Marketing is needed for fundraising. When it comes to getting funds, many people might volunteer but not every donor is what the non-profit organization is looking for. There are many factors they need to consider and develop a target market to which they can provide incentives. Data Science can help with determining this target market and make more effective fundraising efforts.

Non-profit organizations also depend on long-term relationships. With the insights from Data Science, it is easier to develop such relationships and offer the right incentives throughout to maintain them.

Funds Process

For non-profit organizations, money is precious. They have to deal with an even bigger risk of loss because they don’t just lose financial resources but there cause will fail. To make sure that non-profit organizations are using their resources wisely, they need to streamline their processes. There is very little margin of wastage.

For example, if a non-profit organization delivers food at lunch times to government schools in the poverty-ridden area, then they must use optimal routes for delivery. Otherwise, they stand to lose the food and their efforts will be ineffective towards their cause. Having access to Data Science can help determine what routes will be able to make the delivery on time and complete the entire process smoothly.

Monitoring and Implementation

Since the proof of impact is important to non-profit organizations, they must have methods for measuring their performance and the change they bring. Data Scientists can greatly help with this. The right analytics can help identify the gaps in the organizations’ social efforts and develop smarter strategies for the future.

Thus Data Scientists will not only find this opportunity to work with non-profit organizations unique but fulfil at a spiritual level. Moreover, advanced technologies should not only help the privileged but the underprivileged of the society as well. Only then we can bring comprehensive and positive change to our world. To add value to the non-profit organizations, most Data Scientists don’t even have to work full-time for them. Volunteer work and freelancing can bring a big leap for the impacts many non-profit organizations are trying to make.

If you are a Data Scientist, try locating volunteer projects near you. You will find this incredibly rewarding.

 

 

 

 

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Comment by Robert Tullo on September 23, 2018 at 12:19pm

@ SC Zav, I would say you could help right there with that.  Smaller orgs are generally using very off the shelf products and don't pay too much attention to things like organization of data.  As a data scientist, being well informed on collecting, manipulating, and consolidating data for analysis, you could assist the team in how to improve their collection of data, or write scripts that tidy it for them to make it more useful.

Comment by Robert Tullo on September 23, 2018 at 12:16pm

Great reminder on how those in the community can use their powers for good!
For example, catchafire.com is an org that strives to put not-for-profits together with professionals to donate their time for a cause.

Comment by SC Zav on September 21, 2018 at 5:15pm

All true, however, not everybody collects and stores the data the same. How does one overcome this? Helping nonprofits, as an independent Data Scientist, is ideal for a retired person.

Comment by Jennifer Liu on September 20, 2018 at 12:04pm

Good Insights. Using data science for social cause...excellent!

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