THE BLOG

02
Dec

Data-Driven Decisions: A Myth or Reality for Out-of-School Time?

The recent economic crisis has intensified challenges throughout the nonprofit sector. Nowhere is the strain felt more than in the field of out-of-school time (OST) where an “Accordion Effect” — the simultaneous top-down pressure for accountability and bottom-up pressure to meet the ever-growing demands of communities that have been hit the hardest, has metaphorically squeezed the quality out of programs.

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26
Nov
26
Nov
18
Apr

How Data Is Transforming the Non-Profit World: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Nicole Wallace wrote a terrific piece in The Chronicle of Philanthropy called Non-Profits Are Taking a Wide-Eyed Look at What Data Can Do. She features Algorhythm among other data experts. The premise of the piece is this: “A revolution has begun: Data are transforming the nonprofit world.” And we couldn’t agree more. “The new number crunching is fundamentally changing the way charities make decisions about programs, solicit contributions, and push for social change.

  • The Indianapolis Museum of Art pores over attendance information and visitor surveys to determine everything from when it should be open to the best ways to spend scarce resources. The museum extended hours for its Matisse exhibit when data from previous high-profile shows predicted a surge visitors in the final weeks of the show. The change allowed more than 4,000 additional people to see the exhibit.
  • The Humane Society of the United States, World Vision, and a growing number of other charities have added data analysts to their fundraising departments. One of the new hires’ most important tasks: creating detailed statistical pictures of the groups’ major donors and then scouring the organizations’ databases to find other supporters who fit those profiles. The goal: to help them focus attention on the people who are most likely to give.
  • DonorsChoose, which helps teachers raise money for classroom projects and equipment, makes information about the projects funded on its crowdsourcing site available for policy makers, parents, and others to see, giving them a glimpse of what schools need money for.

Foundations are getting in on the action, too, with a handful making large grants for data projects. Last month, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded $2.2-million in grants for programs that use data to improve health and well-being, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $600,000 in November for projects that combine multiple sets of data to help solve tough problems. Some data experts envision a not-too-distant future when charities can use the information they collect to home in on individuals in greatest need of assistance and tailor their approach to each one.” Nicole interviewed me for this story.

Pete York, founder of Algorhythm, a data-science consulting company, is working with the State of Florida to use sophisticated data-mining technology to identify juvenile offenders at greatest risk of committing another crime and determine the right mix of services to help each one overcome the odds. “There’s no such thing as one program that works for everybody,” said Mr. York.

13
Mar

Youth Development Organizations Gather With Algorhythm to Start Collective Build of Shared-Outcome Measurement Technology

together we can do great things youth development

In January 2014, I began working with The Robert Bowne Foundation on an evaluation capacity building initiative that supports grantees to build their internal evaluation capacity, while advancing the fields of out of school time (OST) and positive youth development (PYD). The objective is to push the envelope far beyond individual evaluation skill attainment toward cross sector learning and growth.

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21
Feb

Algorhythm Selected for Philadelphia Social Innovation Accelerator Program

Algorhythm is ecstatic and honored to have been selected for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s FastFWD social innovation accelerator program, which will provide us access to a wealth of resources through the partnerships of the City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative.

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18
Dec

Impact Analytics: An Innovation that Can Take Evaluation to the Next Level

Our team here at Algorhythm has collectively struggled to help nonprofit organizations, philanthropies and for-profit social impact companies effectively use data to strengthen their social change strategies. We are a group of researchers, evaluators, data scientists and impact business leaders who have spent more than a combined 100 years studying and evaluating social issues and programs. We have seen how effective data help leaders learn about if and how they have achieved success. We know that evaluation, when done well, empowers leaders to plan better for the future, and funders and impact investors to make better decisions that lead to positive change.

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