`

What we heard at #sectortransform17

It’s been a month since #sectortransform17, but here at Powered by Data we are still feeling energized by seeing 300 people from government, foundations, and nonprofits come together with international and Canadian experts to discuss how digital data can move their work forward. Having that many people talking about digital data in the same space was a first for the Canadian social sector.

Throughout the day, we consistently heard the need for more —  more discussions, more gatherings like Transform the Sector, and more knowledge sharing. We heard you loud and clear. As a first step, we are working to take the great conversations that happened at Transform the Sector and turn them into useful resources. You can sign up to be a reviewer of those materials here and provide your feedback before their publication.

Either way, stay tuned for further updates. In the meantime, here is our list of the 5 themes that we heard emerge throughout the day:

 

1) The importance of doing data ethically

As Lucy Bernholz made clear in her keynote speech, we need to build a digital civil society that reflects our values. That means ensuring that data collection and storage is done in a way that respects the people it is being collected from, and ensures that already vulnerable people are not being put at greater risk.

 

2) Administrative Data is the new cool kid in town

There is a new cool kid in town and their name is administrative data. We heard how administrative data can help the social sector better evaluate its impact. What we found even more exciting was that we heard — from Tris Lumley at New Philanthropy Capital in the UK and Canada’s Robyn Blackadar at PolicyWise — about projects that are using administrative data already. Given the success of these existing projects, it’s clear there are opportunities to scale up the use of administrative data in Canada.

 

3) Data will continue to impact the relationship between civil society and government

Transform-The-Sector-121.jpg

A lot of thought has gone into how nonprofits can maintain their independence from funders but it is important to be reminded that the increased use of data will likely continue to push the sector towards a more integrated model. The way the sector chooses to handle this transformation will impact the extent to which that happens. The sector could mitigate this loss of independence, but only if it recognizes this trend and develops alternative models. 

 

4) The social sector needs to increase its data capacity now

While panelists and participants pointed to the work done by the Mowat Center and by ONN as early initiatives highlighting the importance of the sector learning how to benefit from data, that need became increasingly apparent throughout the day. The signal to build that capacity is reinforced both by the surprising demand for the conference — which resulted in us doubling the number of seats — and our early analysis of the post conference survey responses. Nearly 60% of respondents said that they specifically needed help “increasing the social sector's (or my sub-sector's) ability to use data”. Given the high demand, it’s not clear we can wait for policymakers, funders, or habitual leaders to help us build this capacity. 

 

5) The data transformation is already underway

A new mix of organizations has emerged as leaders doing this work already. They were showcased in the Lightning round, as well as sessions like Collecting Data for Collective Impact and Beyond Dollars: How Funders are opening their Data for Impact. They included relative newcomers such as the First Nations Information Governance Centre, the Calgary Homeless Foundation, and PolicyWise as well as more established organizations like the Canadian Council for Social Development, CanadaHelps, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

 

We want to hear from you

What important idea or theme did you hear emerge during the day? Did we miss anything? Did you hear it differently? What data issues do you think the sector should focus on? You can add your comments below or share them on social media using #sectortransform17.

The key to transforming the sector isn’t data. It’s relationships.

I’m looking forward to attending Transform the Sector - the first stop on the Data on Purpose | Do Good Data World Tour - this week in Toronto.

While the agenda is compelling and the speaker list exciting (I’m looking forward to finally be meeting my online data-for-good crush Lucy Berholz IRL) - what I’m really looking forward to is connecting and building relationships with other people who are driving social change in communities across Canada and around the world.

Why? Because when it comes right down to it, the real key to transforming the sector isn’t data. It isn’t a new policy announcement by a government minister. And it isn’t that fancy new tool or online platform. Sure you might need to say that it’s one of those things to your boss to get approval to register for a conference, but as my work with the Community Knowledge Exchange and countless reminders by the do-gooding uber-networking guru Paul Nazareth have proven,  the key to doing anything is building meaningful relationships with people.

With that, I’d like to share six tips for building meaningful relationships with people at Transform the Sector. (Why 6? Check out the CKX blog as I take this opportunity to shamelessly promote our recurring #CKX6 feature sharing tools, tips and resources for social change)

  1. Bring your whole self to the conference. What is it that makes you who you are? All too often we try too hard to “present” ourselves a certain way in certain spaces. While there’s merit in putting in an effort, don’t try to be someone that you’re not. It’ll be easier to connect with people (and they’ll remember who you are!) if you’re not worrying about what people might be thinking about you (hint: They’re probably too worried about what you’re thinking of them to worry about you anyways).  

  2. Do your homework. Who’s coming? Whose work are you interested in? Who do you want to meet? Sign up to be included on the attendee list on Sched. Then scan the attendee and speaker list in advance and note the people who you a) want to meet and b) reconnect with. I sometimes scan LinkedIn or Twitter to see if I have any shared connections or interests with people I want to meet. It’s an easy way to strike up a conversation and if that shared connection is going to be at the conference - ask them to introduce you. Michael - you’re on deck for that introduction to Lucy!

  3. Get social. This doesn’t meet burying your nose in your phone for the entire conference, but paying attention and following hashtags, speakers and fellow attendees is a great way to make connections. Easy on the blanket RT’s. Be sure to add context and commentary when sharing someone else’s posts. And have your charger ready to share.

  4. Be present. You or your organization paid good money for you to attend. Don’t check out by checking emails or voicemails. I make it a rule to avoid responding to emails during the day at a conference. Sure you can check to see what’s coming in, but unless there’s some kind of philanthropic emergency (and there never really is) my inbox can wait. Engage in the sessions. Spend the breaks and lunch time chatting with people or reflecting on what you’ve learned. There will always be more email to answer.   

  5. Change it up. Don’t always head back to the same table or spot after a break. Sit somewhere else. Get in line for lunch behind someone you don’t know. Resist the urge to sit with your colleagues or workmates. It’s hard I know. But why should you do it? Because you never know who you might end up meeting. I landed my first job in the nonprofit sector after a woman in front of me in line at a powdered-egg-breakfast fundraiser told me about a little website called CharityVillage.

  6. Follow up. The end of the conference doesn’t mean that your relationship-building is done. Don’t forget to sort through those business cards, send those emails and make those connections on LinkedIn!

So there you have it, my unofficial #CKX6 list on conference networking for social change. Have any of your own to share? Share them  on the socials with #sectortransfrom17

See you soon,

Lee.

@thisleerose

@CKXdotorg

Giving beyond Tuesday: Online donation data sharing and collaboration

Do you wish your organization could access online donation data to better understand donor behaviour and drive your own online donations?

Woodrow Rosenbaum, CEO & Founder of With Intent, is working on a project that is doing just that. Woodrow is a consultant with The Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact at 92Y, managing the #GivingTuesday Data Project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Datakind. The project aims to build a dataset from the data from giving platforms and payment processors collected during #GivingTuesday.

Woodrow is pitching the benefits of the #GivingTuesday dataset as part of the The Data is Coming! The Data is Coming! plenary at Transform the Sector. That plenary will be a fun break from the more traditional conference sessions. Different organizations and government departments will each have five minutes and five slides to pitch their new and improved data.

To date, the #GivingTuesday Data Project has signed up an impressive list of providers who have all agreed to donate their data. They are using a standardized data collection and analysis schema developed with the help of DataKind, that allows participants to map their data in a consistent way. It also makes it easy for everyone involved to analyze the data. Only aggregated data (by geography, for example) is shared in a semi-open data store. All the participating platforms are given access to their own data as well as the shared data set to perform their own analysis.

The purpose of collecting this online donation data is to measure and understand the impact of #GivingTuesday. Beyond that goal, the intention is to help the entire sector better understand giving trends and donor behavior

Initial results from the platforms that have signed up have been collected, giving them a rough measure of the total online giving activity on #GivingTuesday 2016. They are in the process of collecting much more detailed multi-year transaction data in preparation for an upcoming DataDive that’s happening in New York from March 3rd to 5th.

The DataDive will convene 100+ data scientists who will use the data they have collected to address specific questions and provide insight into individual giving behavior. A report on this learning will be shared publicly.

Powered by Data (PBD) discussed Woodrow’s involvement in #GivingTuesday Data Project project to get a hint at what he will be covering during his lightning round pitch:

 

PBD: How did you get involved in such an awesome project?

Woodrow: This project began as an initiative by 92Y to begin to measure the impact of #GivingTuesday. I have been working as a consultant for 92Y engaging online donation platforms to ask them to share their results to help us better understand the impact of #GivingTuesday, and it was their enthusiasm and willingness to share detailed transaction data that inspired the evolution of the project into something much bigger.

Do you have any recommendations about how to get involved for people trying to get involved in work like this?

For me, one of the key lessons from #GivingTuesday is that extraordinary success is possible when you remove traditional boundaries and barriers. This project is a perfect example of that: companies and organizations of every size working with their competitors and finding a way to share proprietary data for mutual benefit. The result is something much larger and more impactful than we had imagined, and much more than any one player could have done alone. The greater lesson: get out of your silos. Think about the possibilities of doing so, not just the risks.

Is this project limited to U.S. organizations or can Canadian organizations participate?

GivingTuesday is open to any organization in Canada. The official Canadian movement (givingtuesday.ca) started in 2013 and there are now 5,786 organizations involved here. The data project itself is looking at primarily US data, but we’re very interested in looking at Canada (and the rest of the globe).

 

We are looking forward to Woodrow making his pitch on behalf of the #GivingTuesday dataset and hearing all the lightning round pitches from the other dataset champions. It is going to get #dataintense!

Announcing the selection of Transform the Sector's Conference Fellows

Transform the Sector aims to convene a series of rich conversations that will help chart the course for the emergence of a data-informed social sector in Canada. To be successful, this event will need to assemble leaders from across diverse communities and disciplines.

This represents a challenge: generally speaking, participation in events of this kind is heavily skewed towards groups whose perspectives are already over-represented in public discourse. In partnership with the Carold Institute and Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab, we’re taking the following steps to include a broader range of voices in our conversations:

  • Investing in targeted outreach to recruit conference participants who work and/or identify with communities that are typically marginalized from events like this one, and awarding bursaries to a selected group of Conference Fellows

  • Supporting Fellows before and during the conference, helping them leverage this experience to enhance their own work and strengthen their communities

  • Convening a half-day working session on February 24th, building on the prior day’s conference to reflect more deeply on the exciting potential - as well as the challenges - of applying digital data in transformational change work with marginalized communities and social justice movements

  • Documenting our process as we confront this challenge, in collaboration with Fellows and other stakeholders, to synthesize and share learnings from our successes and failures in this work

We are excited to announce the first milestone in this process: the selection of 22 Transform the Sector Conference Fellows, drawn from a pool of more than 50 outstanding applicants. These individuals are using digital data in a wide range of creative ways to strengthen their work within marginalized communities across Ontario, Québec, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada, and the Prairies. Some are established experts within their fields, and others are emerging leaders. Their perspectives and contributions will be invaluable additions to this conference, and we’re grateful to each of them for joining us!

Tête-à-tête with Tris Lumley

Another one of the great reasons to attend Transform the Sector is getting to hear Tris Lumley from New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) discuss his work. Tris is participating in two plenary panels at Transform the Sector. In his first panel, he will be discussing NPC’s work unlocking administrative data. In his second panel, and the final one of the conference, he will focus on his work digitally transforming the UK’s charitable sector.  

Tris is part of NPC’s Senior Management Team as their Director of Innovation & Development. NPC is a UK-based charity think tank founded by former partners at Goldman Sachs. The original inspiration behind NPC was to put capital to use as effectively in philanthropy as it was being used to drive high financial returns in the the financial markets.

In 2002, NPC was launched as a charity and since then NPC has grown into a respected consultancy and think tank. NPC operates at the intersection between charities and funders. This unique position allows NPC to help both charities and funders use their resources more effectively by inspiring new thinking and by prioritising impact.

NPC’s Justice Data Lab project is one of their innovative approaches focused on impact. The Justice Data Lab works with the UK Ministry of Justice to help charities understand the impact of their work with offenders by enabling them to access re-offending data.

The main focus of Tris’ work is on NPC's Digital Transformation program. The goal is to transform the way the social sector functions by supporting the adoption of digital technologies. This means making changes to the fundamental architecture of the sector in order to make it easier for charities to integrate, collaborate, and coordinate their activities. 

Powered by Data recently had the opportunity to interview Tris about his work and his two upcoming panels at Transform the Sector.

POWERED BY DATA’S INTERVIEW WITH TRIS LUMLEY

PBD: Through your Justice Data Lab initiative, your organization is a leader in the UK at making administrative data available to nonprofits. In a recent update, NPC mentions a building momentum for other data labs in the areas of health, employment, and education. Can you explain the reason for this growing momentum?

TRIS: The policy agenda continues to be supportive: there is a desire to use existing government data to benefit the social sector, and to maximise the social impact of services delivered by public, private and charity sectors. There’s a recognition that this is not just about open data. That it is possible to do more than just publish data sets and wait for someone to make use of them. The enabling and facilitating of data usage is also a key priority. I think the impact data labs model (of which the Justice Data Lab is the first example) is a great model for this – government matches and analyses the data internally, so all the charity or other service provider needs to do is supply the data set of the individuals whose outcomes are being analysed.  

In the criminal justice field, policy is moving towards greater autonomy at the level of individual prisons, which potentially creates stronger incentives for better decision-making at that level, and the Justice Data Lab can help.

In other areas of government, the Justice Data Lab has shown what can be achieved, how barriers can be overcome, and how a greater range of data sets can be brought into scope over time, so other departments are benefiting from the experience of the Justice Data Lab and team behind it.

PBD: Can you share the most important benefits NPC has witnessed as a result of the unlocking of administrative data for the nonprofit sector through the Justice Data Lab?

TRIS: For the first time, organisations providing services can get efficient access to administrative data at the organisation or project level. Government already has the data - now there's an efficient way of connecting it to organisations. For organisations, under pressure to provide data on their outcomes, now they can, at zero cost. And in fact it’s not just charities – public and private sector organisations are using the Justice Data Lab to do this too.

In the future, there’s also the promise of better research – using impact data labs to conduct meta-studies, and building further research on to them. And with increasing interest in the use of linked data, with the impact data labs model it’s possible for this linking to be done by government data analysts in a way that’s safe and managed, and for external organisations still to benefit from this.

PBD: We know that your work at NPC is focused on digital transformation of the social sector in the UK. Can you give us a hint about what you will be sharing with conference attendees in regards to this work?

TRIS: At NPC, we believe that focusing on digital technology and data creates a unique opportunity for catalysing collective action in the social sector, and I’ll be sharing our initial progress on trying to make that happen through strategic initiatives at the sector level. We're developing a user-centred approach to mapping the potential for technology to create impact in ‘sectors’ like youth development and women’s empowerment, and working towards launching pooled grant funds built on this foundation. Our aim is to flip the usual flow of grant funding into tech products and services – instead of charities applying to funders to support their unique offering, we want innovation to be driven by a shared understanding based on real people’s lived experience – so the funding follows problems and solutions, not organisations and their own vested interests.

PBD: With the UK being a leader in the two areas discussed above, what are you looking forward to learning from your visit about the Canadian social sector?

TRIS: I definitely see the Canadian sector leading on open data, and thinking and practice in grant-making around this, so I am excited to learn from recent progress in this area. I’m also keen to see how the collective approaches we’re trying to push resonate in Canada, and whether there may be opportunities for partnership and collaboration where both UK and Canadian sectors can benefit from each other’s pioneering work and experience.

For more on Tris, you can read his bio here.

It’s time to get PolicyWise about administrative data

We are excited to announce Robyn Blackadar will be joining us on February 23rd at the MaRS Centre. Robyn will be sharing how her organization is working with multiple Alberta ministries to access previously unlinked administrative data about children and youth.

Robyn Blackadar Head Shot.jpg

Robyn is President and CEO of PolicyWise. She has over 20 years of experience in Alberta’s social and health system focusing on policy development and analysis, quality improvement, knowledge mobilization, and data system innovation. With the development of the Child and Youth Data Laboratory in 2007,  PolicyWise plays a unique role in the analysis and interpretation of linked administrative data collected across all child and youth serving ministries in Alberta.

The use of administrative data by the social sector is one of the topics we’re most excited to cover at Transform the Sector. Unlocking administrative data is important for improving evaluation and research, but it’s also a key enabling tool for social finance and social impact bonds. It’s a hot topic internationally. With the rise of the open government movement, governments across the world are seeking to harness the potential of their administrative data. There are a variety of terms to describe the innovative approaches to unlocking this data but the core idea remains the same. In each case, relevant government administrative data — like offender history data, job retraining programs information or social housing databases — is shared with nonprofit organizations delivering programs in those areas. Although these databases do contain private information, they are made available in ways that ensure confidentiality. Accessing this data in a controlled manner enables these organizations to better understand how their services are being used and what kind of impact their various programs are having.

Unfortunately, despite growing international successes, for the most part, the social sector cannot yet access administrative data in Canada. We’re thrilled that one of the Canadian leaders in this area will be with us in person to share the story of her work to harness administrative data for more effective public policy and service delivery.

MORE ABOUT ROBYN:

Appointed in September 2012 as President and CEO, Robyn is responsible for strategic and operational leadership of PolicyWise for Children & Families.  Robyn oversees PolicyWise’ generation and mobilization of evidence for child and family well-being through a collaborative cross-sector approach between government, academia, and the community. You can find her full bio here.

If you can’t wait until February to learn more about this topic, you can read Powered by Data's previous blog post entitled: How a social innovation is unlocking government administrative data.  

A chance to learn how to do good data

One of the reasons to get excited about Transform the Sector is because Andrew Means will be presenting. A leader in the world of data and philanthropy, Andrew is in high demand to speak at conferences around the world.

Andrew is the current Head of beyond.uptake, the philanthropic and civic innovation arm of the Uptake business intelligence platform. He is also the founder of Data Analysts for Social Good, a professional organization for individuals interested in how data, research, and analytics are changing the social sector. Back in 2013, Andrew started Do Good Data: an annual two-day conference that attracts hundreds of social sector leaders.

Do Good Data has just joined forces with Data On Purpose to launch a world tour. Transform the Sector is the first stop on that world tour. 

Powered by Data, one of Transform the Sector's organizing partners, recently had the chance to chat with Andrew about his work and the upcoming world tour.

POWERED BY DATA'S INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW MEANS

Powered by Data (PBD): What kind of work are you doing now?

Andrew Means (AM): I'm focused on getting beyond.uptake off the ground. We are working on building some great data tools for organizations fighting poaching and human trafficking, and students trying to find colleges they'll likely get into and graduate from. We also just launched a Data Fellowship program that I am very excited about. Too often, data leaders in this sector don't get the mentoring, coaching, and professional development they deserve. We are hoping to change that.

PBD: What part of your work are you most excited about?

AM: I am excited right now because I am seeing traction. More resources are being dedicated to support data infrastructure and the use of data applications. More tools are being built. More people are gaining the skills to turn data into insight into action. We are moving in the right direction. There is still a long way to go of course but we have also come a long way in a short amount of time.

PBD: What are you looking forward to discussing in Toronto and on the world tour?

AM: I am so excited for the world tour. When I started Do Good Data in 2013, I had no idea it would take off like it has. To take Do Good Data global is exciting and I am so glad to be launching in Toronto. You guys are leading the way in transparency and I'm excited to not only come and share my experiences but to learn from yours.

Announcing the launch of Transform the Sector

November 2nd - Powered by Data, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society's Digital Society Lab announced today that they have teamed up to launch a new digital data conference for the Canadian social sector.

Transform the Sector is a one-day conference taking place on February 23rd at the MaRS Centre in Toronto, Ontario. This conference is an opportunity to build the digital data capacity of social sector organizations in Canada. It is the first stop on the Do Good Data / Data on Purpose world tour launched by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society’s Digital Civil Society Lab and Do Good Data.

“The Digital Civil Society Lab is committed to helping people use digital data and infrastructure safely, ethically, and effectively for public benefit. This conference, and the World Tour of which is part, is key to building awareness and capacity. We’re thrilled to be launching this work in Canada at this important event.” said Lucy Bernholz, Director of Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society’s Digital Civil Society Lab.

The conference will bring together Canadian experts and globally renowned thought leaders to discuss a range of topics including creating and structuring policies and procedures around digital data and evaluating outcomes with data.

“Canada is already a leader in the world open data and open government. I strongly believe the Canadian social sector can transform itself and increase its impact by embracing the best practices for data use. I am excited to help bring these global experts to Toronto for a day of learning, networking, and strategizing on how to a build a digital data-enabled social sector for the 21st century.” added Michael Lenczner, Director of Powered by Data.

How we are going to transform the Canadian social sector

We’re pleased to announce that the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Powered by Data have teamed up with the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society's Digital Civil Society Lab to launch the premier data conference for the Canadian social sector!

Transform the Sector is a one-day conference about radically increasing the social sector's impact through its use of digital data:

Transform the Sector

Building a Data-Driven Social Sector

February 23rd 2017

At MaRS Centre - Toronto, Ontario

Registration is open now. Reserve your spot today.
 

Who should attend Transform the Sector? 

Anyone looking to take advantage of the new opportunities being created by digital data — from nonprofit sector leaders, data analysts, social entrepreneurs, evaluators and policy makers — to transform how their organizations operate, how they collaborate, and how they aim to achieve their missions. Join internationally recognized Canadian experts and global thought leaders for skillfully-led sessions on topics ranging from:

●      Innovative cross-sector collaborations for data collection, storage and use

●      International models to build the social sector’s capacity to use digital data

●      New methods of accessing and using government and public data for learning and evaluation

We're also excited to introduce our keynote speaker Lucy Bernholz:

Lucy_Berholz.121x121.jpg

Lucy Bernholz is a Senior Research Scholar at The Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Hybrid Reality Institute, and the New America Foundation. She has a Master of Arts degree and a Doctoral degree from Stanford University.

Click here for a list of other speakers.

Early bird ends December 9th or when tickets sell out. Reserve your spot now. Space is limited.