Big Data and Small Nonprofits
By: Margo Bailey, PhD
It’s easy for small nonprofits to dismiss conversations about Big Data “a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.” Sometimes it is too difficult to efficiently manage a single EXCEL spreadsheet, let alone multiple databases.
Successful nonprofits, regardless of their size, understand that it is important to manage, mine, and use data for organization and program decision making. There are important lessons learned about data management, program implementation, and impact assessment for nonprofit leaders in the current discussions on Big Data. The lessons can help you take small steps to improve your capacity for data collection, outcome measurement, evaluation and data-driven decision making.
Here are a few blog resources to get you started:
Jacob Harold, GuideStar
Steve Boland, Nonprofit Quarterly
Beth Kanter, Beth’s Blog
Kate Crawford, Microsoft Research
What are your thoughts on Big Data in small nonprofit organizations?