Resources used https://github.com/widged/data-for-good/wiki

Data for good (hosted by Hack Miramar)

27/08/2015

The meeting started with the usual announcements... which turned out to be not that usual.
  • Hack Miramar is expanding its activities even more, planning a co-working space similar to Bizdojo in the Miramar Peninsula.
  • Hack Miramar has been awarded a Wellington Airport award for their contributions to the community.

Then it was time for the NGOs to give their pitch. Today, we had two organisations seeking recommendations from the data geeks. The `Katherine Mansfield House & Garden`, keen for advice on how to organize data about their members and fundraising sources. `Summer of tech` looking for ways to better present the skills of their grad students to business looking for young talent.

After the pitches and a quick break for pizza and drinks, two groups were formed to discuss these different problems. The purpose of these discussions is to help business better understand their problems and if possible, get them to propose to our participants a specific challenge that data geeks can work on.


Katherine Mansfield House & Garden


`Katherine Mansfield House & Garden` is a small Victorian museum. Recently, they have been trying to inject more life into the museum. (a) Organizing writing workshops, (b) Designing changing exhibitions, (c) Planning and hosting community events. One problem they are facing is that their member base has been progressively dwindling and that their funding tends to be intermittent as fundraising is currently done at events. They are looking for ways to expand their membership numbers and get a more continuous source of income. As their staffing is very limited (one full time and one part time employee), any solution needs to be very easy to install and use. As they are a non profit, it needs to be low cost or (preferably) free.

As the conversation started, it became clear that their needs were bigger than how to organize a small database (less than 100 entries). It was about how to increase the membership numbers, track these members, perhaps with different tiers of membership. There was a also a need to be able to manage and track funding applications to charitable bodies. Different options were discussed.
  • Contact an association that offers charities pro-bono advice on PR strategies (Community commms collective).
  • Set up a campaign on `Give a little` (https://givealittle.co.nz/) to support the set up of a specific exhibition (note that you can actually invite donations for museum - https://givealittle.co.nz/search?q=museum).
  • Find an appropriate way to invite members to make a donation in their will (that's a delicate one, one way to address the issue might be to simply mention in their newsletter a contribution a member made and what they were able to do with that money).
  • Use of social media as promotional tool and a way to attract new members.

Data needs were also discussed. High on the priority list is how to improve export of emails to use when sending newsletters out (and send a paper version out to the ones who don't have email). Good to have is setting up some way for new members to autoregister, with an email being sent to them to thanks them for joining the museum and start building up a relationship with them.

The data geeks recommended the use of a customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage members. They noted that there are many options (hundreds or even thousands) in every vertical including non-profits. Obviously, it is preferable to choose one that supports the needs of museum today as well as in the medium term (to avoid the need to relearn how to use a particular system). They Talked about high-end donor management systems (although the museum is unlikely ever to be able to afford these), as well as more “cut price” solutions.

Next step for the museum is to have a more in depth discussion with one or more of the “Data for Good” participants, to tease out more detailed requirements.


Summer of tech


`Summer of tech` have a mission to help build bridge between students and jobs. They have quite a large dataset, with lots of data for over 700 hundred students. They feel that to better serve the students, they need a compelling, visual way to show the skills and tell the student stories.

As the conversation started, it was revealed that Summer of Tech already has a great online tool, the student marketplace. That tools does an excellent job at helping business find students with the skills they need. The problem is at the moment business can access the database is only accessible to paying subscribers. There is no option to try before paying. This is simply because if employers have an opportunity to try before they buy, and end up finding a match, they are likely to postpone subscription (and if they don't find a match, they are unlikely to subscribe).

As the discussion progressed, two type of solutions were proposed.
  • To let business try the database before commiting to a subscription, it was proposed to anonomize the profile. Searching for students will be free but but contact details would be visible only to registered subscribers.
  • To get more companies prepared to hire a young but not necessarily unexperienced student, it was proposed to send a regular report to suitable companies with a summary of the skills that summer of tech students have.

The anonymized profile is a problem that data for good participants cannot easily contribute to. It is likely to have to be taken on internally.

Next step. Five data geeks in the group committed to work on the skill report for the next month. Their progress can be followed on github, at widged/SOT-skills-report