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!