4 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Data Science and Benchmarking
Business + Managementposted by Shannon Flynn January 12, 2023 Shannon Flynn
Data science has changed and shaped how organizations think about issues across various businesses as information has become more widely available thanks to technology. As data flows from your CRM — including donor profiles, operational data, social media, and more — predictive and prescriptive analytics and benchmarking offer various uses for nonprofits.
With data science, benchmarking for nonprofits could become more manageable as they can effectively measure their organization’s performance compared to others with the same purpose. Whatever stage a company is at, data for good may assist it in establishing a data strategy for nonprofits.
1. Patron Profiling
A non-profit organization can use data for good by keeping tabs on the people who have donated. This can include the time an individual contributed, how much it was, what method they used to contribute, estimations of their wealth, and non-donation gestures such as volunteering and using social media. They can start grouping donors and potential donors based on this data.
For instance, if a non-profit organization focuses solely on two characteristics of contributors — such as wealth and giving inclination — it could identify the locations of natural donor groupings on a two-dimensional scatterplot. But it becomes hard to represent natural groups of contributors when you wish to consider other factors about a donor, such as volunteer hours, the number of related social media postings, and more.
2. Monitoring and Compliance
Nonprofits can use benchmarking and data science to measure their operations’ effectiveness precisely and customize their workflows for improved outcomes. Real-time tracking during emergencies and optimizing rescue efforts can benefit greatly from data analysis and visualization.
For instance, 54% of non-profits pursuing operational efficiency can utilize dashboards to display the inventory of donations by location and use that information to find nearby donors and effectively shorten the waiting period for essential food and medical supplies. Additionally, nonprofits can use Google Analytics dashboards to track critical social trends regarding the search habits of donors or people in need.
3. Social Media Trends Marketing
Social media platforms contribute to the overall portfolio of a charitable organization as they can use them to raise awareness and recruit donations. It becomes challenging to relate emotion, involvement, and intent of communications concerning the primary activities the organization is actively trying to achieve on these platforms, making it tough to monitor your effectiveness, traction, and user responses.
A charitable organization can clean up a vast amount of text by combining Sentiment Analysis Modeling with Natural Language Processing (NLP). Additionally, they can use NLP to categorize messages into words or phrases and rank which sections of the post were usually favorable. As a result, it’s simpler for a non-profit organization to see patterns in word clouds, comprehend connections between operations or income-generating activities and expand the scope of prospective donor profiling.
4. Employing Data Experts
Many organizations need to recognize the power of data for good because as much as it can effectively aid in benchmarking them against industry peers, it can also improve their revenue. However, some charitable organizations frequently deal with getting access to experts. The processes are often bureaucratic and resources might need to increase to hire a whole crew.
Data scientists engage with social groups, but they provide their services voluntarily. One option for businesses is to hire independent data scientists for short-term initiatives. This enables them to leverage data analysts’ skills while keeping the procedure affordable.
Creating a Data Strategy for Nonprofits Using Data Science and Benchmarking
Nonprofit organizations need more resources to develop their data capabilities. Additionally, they are in an excellent position to connect with community needs and create social value by utilizing, sharing and experimenting with data. With data science, benchmarking for nonprofits large and small has a lot of potential.