Pro Bono – Pro Data: Impressions from our Smart Data for Social Good Workshop

Being the td Pro Bono team, it is our mission to share our data knowledge with people from the social sector and enable them to make use of an untapped world of insights to do their good even better. Thus, we organized a workshop on smart data for social businesses and nonprofits.

The workshop preparation: Analyzing the data needs of the social sector

To tailor this workshop to the needs of NPOs, NGOs and social entrepreneurs, we asked for their input. Our brief online survey showed that, although most of them are already working with data from social media analysis and website tracking, 25% are still interested in an introduction session into digital data and 23% wanted to get in contact with data related use cases from the social sector. Issues, the survey participants wished to address included easy ways to capture relevant data, data privacy, finding potential supporters, insights, and impact measurement as well as handling and comparability of digital data.

Based on these findings, we developed a basic data knowledge workshop and focused on the data sources of highest interest for our potential participants: Online Text Data, Google Search Data, Web & App analytics Data, CRM Data, and Open Data.

The workshop location: Inside and outside the Impact Hub

On September 21st we hosted the workshop at the beautiful and inspiring premises of The Impact Hub. Two creative meeting spaces and a fantastic roof terrace were the best possible venue. Thanks for having us and supporting our cause!

The workshop approach: Experiencing different data sources through a data walk

As we like interaction and talking with people – rather than talking to them – we polished our tried and tested “gallery walk” approach, with the 5 data source stations. After a short data-driven warm up, 4 teams with up to 6 people were formed.

As the groups walk from station to station, they experience each data source for 20 minutes. During this time, we provide the objective of the data source, presented several use cases to prove its benefits for the social sector and discuss the needs and wants of the participants.

The workshop feedback: “Data is not only theoretical, but practically applicable.”

As wrap-up we asked for feedback and received a lot of positive reactions, like the answer from one attendee: “My expectations are exceeded. Data is not only theoretical, but practically applicable.”

What people especially liked and voiced during the wrap-up session:

  • The overall set-up of the workshop, the individual approach in small teams
  • The relevance of the data sources for their work, even though (as one participant put it) “in real life they run a mile when it comes to data”
  • The interactive format
  • The possibility to network and learn from others

But we also learned that:

  • although the potential of data for their work is huge, smaller organizations simply lack the resources to deal with data.
  • 20 Minutes is a tough timing to get in touch with a data source

Up next

We already got some input on what type of workshop to do next: Many of the participants would love the possibility to discuss their real-life cases with us. After getting an overview they want to dig deeper into the data sources most relevant to them and learn how to use them for their benefit. Especially web analytics and search data are of great interest in the social sector. One participant noted: “From my experience I know that the whole nonprofit area is very interested in Google Analytics and Google Adwords, especially in the basics to answer questions like: Who are my users, what are they interested in, and how do we get their attention?” Thus, it makes sense to pick the data sources most relevant to you and offer a detail, hands-on workshop.

And yes, we are preparing it already! And again, we need your input:

  • Which data tools would you like to try in a hands-on session?
  • What social questions do you want to answer by using these data tools?

So please drop us a line and send us your questions and challenges in day to day work.

We will keep you up to date about our new workshop on data tools, taking place at the end of the year!