Session Descriptions

Wednesday, October 13

Data Warehousing Basics for Prospect Development

Max Dakin, Assistant Director, Prospecting and Special Initiatives, UNICEF USA

Most organizations are looking to get more value out of their data, and a data warehouse is one of the most common solutions to help extract insights through data analytics. Is your organization ready for a data warehouse? What’s the difference between a data mart, data lake, and data warehouse? And how can data warehousing enhance your prospect development program?

This session will describe the fundamentals of data warehousing - specifically as it relates to prospect development - and present some practical examples from an early-stage data warehousing project. Attendees will learn about the advantages data warehousing provides in conjunction with the traditional CRM, as well as the readiness factors required to start a successful data warehouse project.

The Value of Visualization: Transformational Change Through Dashboards and Analytics

Nadine Francis, Principal, Betterverse Consulting; Jason Befort, Sr. Director, Benefactor Management, Vail Health Foundation

Are you struggling to monitor performance against key indicators, assess progress to date, identify opportunities for growth, and make better-informed decisions? Join us for this interactive session describing how to develop a business intelligence culture at your organization, resulting in an amazing set of visualization tools that will transform your operations. Drawing from Vail Health Foundation’s experience, we’ll walk through how we determined what metrics really mattered, methods used to wrangle data, deployment of a business intelligence architecture, and how we created a stunning set of visualizations, including interactive dashboards that facilitate our moves management meetings via screen share in Zoom and Microsoft Teams. At Vail Health, we made full use of Power BI™ and Raiser’s Edge NXT™, creating direct linkages that enable officers to click on a Power BI™ report and call up an NXT record seamlessly, but the lessons described in this session will apply to any CRM or reporting tool.

Dashboard Daze: Insights into Building a Culture of Data

Amber Palmer, Director, Research Analytics, Sinai Health Foundation

There can be an interesting dichotomy between the request to use data to drive meaningful insights and the level of data literacy across an organization. Dashboards can be developed, but usage remains low. Training is provided, but comprehension or interest is lacking. The question becomes, how can we as Data Scientists/Analysts meet our colleagues developmentally while building tools that provide actionable outcomes. Using experience and insight gained developing and presenting dashboards to senior leaders and development officers, this session explores the design, development and deployment of visual analytics with the view of fostering a culture of data.

Prospect Identification Challenge Day 1

All conference attendees will be invited to participate in this session in advance of the conference. We will provide a sample data set, and a specific target outcome – and participants are encouraged to be as creative as possible re: methodology to achieve that outcome. Submissions will be collected in advance of the conference, and a few key participants will be selected to highlight and discuss their submission and approach during the 1hr session on Day 1. Learn more about the Prospect Identification Challenge.

Download the session links

How to join the Day 1 session:

Join Zoom Meeting: 

Meeting ID: 964 9702 0077
Passcode: DSN21

Avoiding Common Propensity Modeling Pitfalls

Arup Banerjee, CEO and Co-Founder, Windfall

Propensity modeling is a powerful tool for any nonprofit, but only if it's built correctly. Poorly-built models can lead to incorrect recommendations, wasted spend, and ineffective prioritization.
Join Arup Banerjee, CEO and Cofounder of Windfall, to learn how to stay away from common modeling mistakes and ensure you build the most efficient propensity models.

In this webinar you'll learn:

  • The most common pitfalls with propensity models
  • How to avoid and resolve these issues
  • What to look for when on the market for a data and modeling vendor

Usability Testing Data Dashboards

Roshni Gohil, Data Analyst, MIT

Usability testing is commonly performed in web development. Teams observe real users as they interact with websites through a set of typical user tasks. This testing helps teams identify problems: Where are users getting stuck? What’s hard or confusing? What do users (not) like? By addressing those identified issues, teams can build products that are easier to use, and that users actually _want_ to use.

Data products like Tableau dashboards, as interactive products, can also benefit from usability testing. I’ll show how our fundraising operations team conducted usability testing while developing a new Tableau tool for monitoring fundraiser performance, and consequently, improved ease of use and adoption. While the case study in this presentation uses Tableau, the usability testing methodology can be applied to any data product that users will interact with--print-ready reports, dashboards and charts in interactive tools (e.g., Power BI, Qlik), or even slide decks.

Shifting Perspective: From Title-based Goals to Empirical Targets

Jordan Dupuis, Sr. Associate Director, Analytics and Reporting, MD Anderson Cancer Center; Michele Armstrong, Sr. Director, Prospect Development, MD Anderson Cancer Center

In order to reach sustained transformational philanthropy to support a forthcoming campaign and beyond, routine business practices were evaluated. One of the first areas identified in reaching this objective was to modify the process for setting individual fundraiser monetary goals, which for years was a single-variable approach. This led to the opportunity to create a process that:

  • Is empirical, aligned with our values, repeatable, sustainable
  • drives donor-centric behaviors
  • improves forecasting abilities
  • incentivizes portfolio value growth
  • and more!!

In this session, we will provide an overview of the charge to review the internal process of title-based goal-setting, our hypothesis and subsequent approach, and the implementation of a sweeping shift in fundraiser target-setting and portfolio reviews for the Division.

Pipeline-based Goal-setting that Integrates Data with Fundraiser Intel

Katie Harrell, Associate Director of Advancement, Strategic Performance Management, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dale Wright, Associate Dean & Chief Advancement Officer, Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Like many large, decentralized shops, Illinois has historically used matrixes or manager discretion when setting goals for frontline fundraisers, resulting in a spectrum of performance standards. Acknowledging the degree to which portfolio health informs a fundraiser’s potential success, Illinois launched a pipeline-based approach to setting goals, internally referred to as the Stoplight System. It combines a discounting algorithm (science) with line-by-line knowledge from the fundraiser about each ask (art) to arrive at aspirational, yet achievable goals. Hear from the analyst and frontline team about the implementation, outcomes and next steps.

Thursday, October 14

Successful Analytics Deployment: Tips and Tricks

Glenda Carnate, Director, Analytics and Data Science, BMC Software
John Gough, Senior Executive Director, The University of Texas at Austin
James Rogol, Assistant Director of Advancement Business Intelligence, University of Virginia
John Sammis, Senior Data Scientist, CCS

The 2021 Data Science Now Virtual Conference is pleased to present a panel discussion between thought leaders across the industry, where we’ll tackle all topics related to successful analytics deployment. We’ll discuss everything from developing leadership buy-in and successful team building tactics, to data exploration methodologies, understanding project ROI, and strategic implementation. Come prepared with questions or thoughts about any roadblocks, setbacks or bottlenecks you’ve experienced in your own project launches and rollouts!

Blockchain + Philanthropy

Kevin Clauson, Associate Professor, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Lipscomb University

Trust and transparency are both increasingly important and difficult to achieve in our digital world – whether for healthcare, finance, communications, or building a community. At its core, blockchain technology enables trust and can enhance transparency across sectors.

Society is built on the creation and management of trust between people, and sometimes institutions. Imagine if we were able to use blockchain technology to make this process more efficient, readily verifiable, and scalable – it could potentially transform the relationship between organizations and the donors that empower them. This session will discuss how we might make that imagination a reality for the world of philanthropy by leveraging this emerging technology.

Segmentation from Square One: Establishing a Cluster Program at your Institution

David Schemitsch, Data Science Engineer, Columbia University

Many institutions divide their constituents into clusters, which are alternatively referred to as segments or personas. The goal of a clustering project is to identify constituents who are “similar” to each other in order to engage with them in a more targeted manner. This session will cover the motivation for performing a cluster analysis, how Columbia University established a segmentation program over the course of a year, and how we plan to use these clusters going forward.

Order from Chaos: Data Modeling and Architecture Optimization for Prospect Management

Diana Collins, Associate Director, Philanthropy Information and Operations, Institute of International Education

Session description coming soon!

Building a Data Foundation for Your Analytics

Bjorn Bulthuis, Director of Analytics & Information Systems, OSU Foundation

Building an innovative analytics program must start from a solid foundation. Structuring your data so it is understandable by people across your organization will help establish a more collaborative analytics environment. This case study will look at how our team restructured our data so it is useful not for just data professionals in our organization, but anyone with an interest in data.

Getting the support of your organization to dedicate attention to crucial foundation building can be a challenge. Each day a new request lands on our desk and the emergency of the moment can often overshadow the longterm gains of foundation work.

Hear how our team decided to just get started on foundation work. Learn how we decided who to involve in the process along the way, and conventions we used to streamline our work. We will also discuss how data architecture can be used to address issues surrounding data accuracy, security, and permissions.

Prospect Identification Challenge Day 2

Day 2 is a show case for those who want to share their approach. All conference attendees will be invited to divide into pre-determined breakout rooms with clearly defined discussion topics and agendas to take a deeper dive into the various processes relating to the original challenge. Topics may include:

  • Data transformation
  • Data clean up
  • Data management
  • Communication
  • Analysis techniques and methodologies

Learn more about the Prospect Identification Challenge.

How to join the Day 2 session:

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 930 1522 3583
Passcode: DSN21

Building Interactive Data Science Stories with Data-Driven Documents 

Rodger Devine, Associate Dean of External Affairs for Strategy and Innovation; Data Science, University of Southern California, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Communicating and sharing data science findings requires a dynamic blend of business purpose, audience alignment, technical expertise, communication skills, creativity, and feedback loops. In this working session, participants will learn how to create and build interactive web-based "data journals" using D3.js (data-driven documents javascript library) for both internal and external audiences. No programming experience is required, but some background or familiarity with HTML and object-oriented web programming is helpful.

Using Emotional Data to Differentiate Your Nonprofit Prospect Management

Grant Gooding, Founder and CEO, Proof Positioning

There is a data set that can give you an unprecedented understanding of the emotions, motivations and preferences of your donors, volunteers and prospects - and it is likely sitting right under your nose. It can tell you why they engage, and why they don't and won't. It’s called “Emotional Data” and its use provides actionable steps that you and your organization can take to better connect and engage with your donors on their terms while building out more robust donor profiles that produce results. In this presentation, you will learn about the emerging field of Emotional Data and hear case studies of its integration and implementation in the nonprofit sector to raise more money and create lasting donor relationships.

Uncover the power of communities: segmentation for impactful philanthropy

Alex Oftelie, Senior Vice President of Decision Science, BWF

Every constituency has many segments and groups, and understanding these communities, their motivation, activity, and philanthropy is a powerful approach to maximizing your organizations potential. In this session, we will review the dominant techniques for creating persona or clustering models, an overview of unsupervised techniques, considerations for data, alignment with supervised scoring, and how to support successful implementation.