This week learn about new nonprofit data initiatives, PoweredbyData, Foundant Connect and Open hGrant. The opportunities of data analysis for the sector is also discussed along with data projects that the Sloan Foundation is supporting.
Ajah, which runs Fundtracker Pro provides the most up-to-date research available on Canadian funders and has just launched PoweredbyData. The initiative is led and advised by Canadian, USA and UK experts in open data, standards development, and grant-making. PoweredbyData will work predominantly with funders and government regulators to increase the supply of standard, interoperable, and open data about the sector and its impacts.
Mark Larimer, of Foundant Technologies explains 3 reasons why data initiatives have failed for grantmakers: Lack of a reliable and distinct benefit for those who share data, and an understanding of how it can and will be used; difficulty in finding ways to share data; and a lack of accurate up-to-date data. As a result in partnership with GuideStar, Foundation Center, and GreatNonprofits they have released Foundant Connect to combine common data sources in one location for grantmakers and grantseekers to access.
The Walter & Elise Haas Fund’s working together with the Foundation Center and Mission Minded, have developed an open-source, free solution called Open hGrant for WordPressthat any grantmaking entity can use to make its grantmaking data searchable, publishable, sharable, and fully accessible. This lets all types of grantmakers publish giving data to the web in a standardized format. This data is automatically shared with the Foundation Center, and is reflected in its suite of tools, including the Reporting Commitment.
In this post Matteo Tonello and Alex Parkinson tackle Gary Wexler’s claims that data can’t deliver a comprehensive assessment of the nonprofit sector, because it inhibits the generation of ideas and experimentation (See Could the Incessant Demand for Data Kill Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector?) According to them by engaging primarily in open-ended conversation we are taking a step backward. While applying data analytics to the nonprofit world is complex, technology and analytical models are evolving and nonprofits need to adapt to these new way of working too.
The Sloan Foundation has established a Data and Computational Research subprogram that is helping to improve the study of data. They are funding projects that allow sharing of information, programs that can help replicate research methods and those that support the development of a new class of data professionals. The data subprogram is part of the foundation’s Digital Information Technology program, which started in 2011 with $4 million in grants and more than doubled giving in the following year.