The Challenge

2024 Apra Data Science Challenge

Deadline for Submissions: Monday, July 15, 2024

Learn by doing while competing in Apra’s fifth annual data science competition! Your job will be to forecast giving trends for a fictional organization and to identify the donor segments with the most growth potential for the upcoming year.

Participants are encouraged to use innovative visualizations; however, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best – use whatever techniques you think would work best for your organization.

Submissions will be judged based on communication, design and analytical approach. The deadline to submit is Monday, July 15, 2024 by 11:59p.m. CDT. Submissions will be highlighted throughout the Data Science Now conference and attendees will have an opportunity to explore each submission in more detail during the poster viewing session. 

Additionally, at least 2 submissions will be featured as Data Science Now conference sessions. Featured participants will have the opportunity to lead breakout discussions to present their approaches to attendees in greater detail. Please note that while you do not need to be registered for Data Science Now to participate in the challenge, in-person attendance is required for consideration as a featured participant.

Some participants in the challenge will be recognized in Connections, Apra’s content hub, and will have the opportunity to be featured in additional Apra educational content!

Team submissions are encouraged!

How to Participate:

  1. Email with your intention to participate and, if applicable, a team name under the subject line “2024 Apra Data Science Challenge.”
  2. Download the sample dataset, data dictionary, and poster template here.
  3. Upon receipt of the data files and descriptions, submit your poster summary and full analysis to by Monday, July 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. CDT.
  4. All submissions will be reviewed by Apra’s Data Science Committee. Featured participants will be notified by Wednesday, July 31, 2024 and will be asked to share more about how they approached the challenge at Data Science Now on Tuesday, August 20th.

Submission Requirements:

Poster Summary: Participants will be provided a powerpoint template to share text highlights and images/tables/graphs related to the analysis. Apra will assign a QR code to each poster for attendees at Data Science Now to learn more and access your full analysis file. The posters will be displayed digitally during the Data Science Now event for attendee viewing and may be used in additional education offerings. 

Full Analysis: Feel free to use whatever format you prefer:

  • Excel Files
  • Dashboards 
  • Powerpoints
  • Written Reports
  • Video Recordings
  • Web Applications
  • Be Creative! (TikTok, YouTube, GIFs)

The Challenge:

Organizational Context

It’s that time again! Hard to think that after a quick interregnum, your organization is ready to start a new fundraising campaign. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to instruct Executive Staff on the goals of that campaign.  

Research Questions

Below are some questions you and your team may choose to consider as you work through this challenge. These are only meant to be suggested starting points, and you are encouraged to take your analysis in any direction you see fit:

  • What gifts bands are predictable and steadily performing? Are any of them performing worse over time?
  • What does the donor base look like? What types of donors show steady, predicatable patterns?
  • Are there donor segments that are not under management where we might want to assign a gift officer?

Data Files and Descriptions

Participants will be provided the data files to utilize for this challenge beginning in April. The data is meant to replicate data found in the real world and may contain missing, duplicated, or otherwise “messy” information. 

Looking for Inspiration? 

Check out past Data Science Dashboard Challenge winners to get a glimpse into the great work this program produces.

Ready to Begin? 

Email with your intention to participate today!