Are nonprofits embracing big data?
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One way to start the journey for a nonprofit is outlined by Jacob Harold in his blog post titled 'Nonprofits: Master "Medium Data" Before Tackling Big Data' on HBR. He recommends the following in his blog:
...nonprofits face legitimate challenges in gathering, organizing, and using even basic data. First, most nonprofits are simply too cash-strapped to invest in cutting-edge information systems to track their activities, engage with their stakeholders and understand their context. Second, the diversity of organizations makes comparison difficult: how could we possibly compare the work of the University of Chicago to a homeless shelter in Albuquerque or to Greenpeace? Third, it isn't easy to know which are the most effective programs for battling climate change or child slavery or homelessness. Finally, the unique economics of the nonprofit sector — the buyer (donor) is frequently a different person from the user (beneficiary) — interrupt the direct feedback loop that often drives innovation in business.
I would tend to agree with his advice. Medium data is one step closer to end goal. Having said that, I would love to hear of a nonprofit that has successfully incorporated big data.