How SumAll.org Puts Analytics in Good Hands
Using data to help nonprofits further their cause and make a difference
The right data can help nonprofits in two major ways. It can assist with funding by illustrating to people how much help is needed, and it can support developing more effective strategies for achieving goals. “At SumAll.org, we’re working on making enterprise-scale problem-solving accessible to nonprofits. When a solution is easy to use and flexible, it can have transformational power,” says Stefan Heeke, executive director at SumAll.org.
Though nonprofits want data, they don’t always have the ability to get it. “When we start a project to help a nonprofit, we sometimes see a data collection issue, and not collecting data can have implications on funding. Funders are the biggest group demanding data from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits, and even government,” says Heeke. At the same time, funders aren’t always keen on the idea of their donations going towards analytics tools. “There’s a huge opportunity to use enterprise-level tools for social impact and finding ways to make this technology accessible to the non-profit community is critical.”
“It’s really about the quality of data and the ability to make the data visible and useful to a wide audience. People forget that good ideas come from people on the ground, and not necessarily from the analyst in an office,” says Heeke.
Having worked in the business, Heeke knew what Spotfire could do and asked for a license donation for SumAll.org.
“TIBCO Spotfire helps us visualize data quickly and make it accessible to social impact stakeholders who are not technical. If we can engage stakeholders with their own data, they’ll come up with the right questions, and we can explore the data together,” says Heeke.
Powerful, Factual Presentations
With visual data exploration, nonprofits have the ability to make a better case for their cause. “Working with TIBCO, we have a better way to process data and present it to policy stakeholders and change makers,” says Heeke.
Deep, Predictive Insight
Spotfire gives nonprofits the ability to dive deep into their data and generate insights that can inform how they operate. “When people are affected by crises such as poverty, school dropouts, crime, and drug addiction, they also send signals in the form of data. We have a huge potential to predict and prevent a lot of problems that society may be experiencing in the future,” says Heeke.
Expanded Capabilities for Small NGOs
For a small nonprofit, everything they do needs to count, yet making an impact can be hard with limited information. “Using data in an intelligent way is the first step towards transformation, and we’ve seen this over and over again,” says Heeke.
Better Designed Social Interventions
With actionable data, the nonprofits that SumAll.org works with can act with confidence. They can see proof that what they’re doing is working, or use data to find a method that does. “Just sharing data and giving people an opportunity to interact with it gives them an understanding and better intelligence of where to go next,” says Heeke.
Ease of Use
Part of SumAll.org’s mission is to put powerful analytics capabilities in the hands of nonprofits so they can get answers to their biggest questions, but not everyone who works at nonprofits understands data science. Simplicity and performance are key.
SumAll.org is growing, and looking to take its model of applying data analytics to social causes to other cities. “We’re planning to drive more social impact by engaging a bigger community,” says Heeke. “Right now we are working a lot in New York City, but the same solutions could be applied anywhere.” SumAll.org is also focusing on expanding its use of technology, particularly real-time event processing. “We’re looking to become more sophisticated with technology. Right now, our partners are starting off with very basic data visualizations, but I think there’s potential to become more predictive and more real time,” says Heeke.