The Nonprofit Alliance Partners With Johns Hopkins University to Provide Data Analytics to Nonprofits
The Nonprofit Alliance and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Leadership Education have formed a partnership to provide data analytics resources to nonprofits and vital career preparation to students, according to a press release.
A concept thought up by Adam Treiser, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, the program began in 2016 with pairing students with for-profit businesses for a semester. Students would work alongside the business all semester long, practicing skills and developing their skill-sets, with a presentation at the end of the semester with their strategic recommendations for the business.
“Those businesses typically have the resources to access similar data science decision-making elsewhere. I sought to introduce students to an opportunity to apply the same data analytics skill-set to a nonprofit organization, where we may in fact be bringing unique value and insight to their problem-solving process,” Adam said.
Through this program from TNPA and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Leadership Education, students will use their knowledge and skills in advanced analytics to help nonprofits, many of which do not have the financial resources to invest in data analytics.
The program has already been implemented in this current semester with one of TNPA’s member organizations, which ends in a few weeks. Shannon McCracken, CEO of TNPA, spoke to NonProfit PRO in an exclusive interview explaining that the class analyzed the nonprofit’s data based on the pending question: “Do we continue to invest in trying to acquire new supporters the way we have been, or do we allocate that money into something completely outside of fundraising — in some sort of new revenue and growth channel?”
And while this nonprofit had some internal data and an agency advising them on fundraising decisions, there were blind spots. The class was able to look at the organization’s data, as well as big marketing data from beyond the organization’s walls, to provide valuable recommendations and analysis.
“It’s a valuable resource for nonprofits. A lot of them probably can't afford to invest in these types of tools or staff members. But this isn't something the nonprofit is looking to sign a long-term agreement on. The nonprofit is trying to answer a kind of burning question, and it only has a piece of the puzzle,” Shannon said. “But in this way, nonprofits don't have to try to identify expertise internally, which most probably aren’t going to have.”
“There's such a wide field of professionalism in the nonprofit sector, so being able to plant that seed with these data science students is a fantastic opportunity,” Shannon added.
In tandem, both TNPA and the Center for Leadership Education will work together in the application and selection process to match each class with a nonprofit. Moving forward, TNPA will formalize an application and selection process for its nonprofit members.