Big Project, Big Data

Big Data

I’m a social entrepreneurship graduate student working on a group project with a team of three classmates. We’re preparing to spend the next few months collaborating on a product proposal for a nonprofit client through our university. We’ll essentially have the entire semester to launch a new product with them. I can’t reveal too much, because we’re struggling just to get started. The gist of what we’re trying to do is develop a solution to address growing organizational complexity. The success of this nonprofit client, like so many other nonprofits, depends on balancing productive fundraising efforts with a host of competing priorities. Where should we begin with the client? What kind of product would be most appealing to a nonprofit?

These are extremely complicated questions to answer, because only your client has access to the most relevant information. That being said, it could be a fruitful exercise to backstep temporarily and consider the present state of affairs. One of the first things to remember is that effective consulting is about more than giving advice. Your team should cultivate a bias toward action if you haven’t already done so, especially if you actually plan to launch a product and impress this client.

Another important step is grounding yourself in a firm understanding of what core challenges nonprofits must overcome, which transcends financial solvency and sustainability. Pay close attention to the art of conversation when the time comes for project discussion and advisory. Your earliest sessions with the client should focus on discovery, ideation, and validating the product requirements. It’s during this stage that you should have a clear idea of what’s most appealing to them based on their unique circumstances.

Armed with that knowledge, your team can then begin the process of creating the product proposal. While it’s impossible to know exactly what obstacles your client is facing, you can be certain that some aspect of your solution should involve technology. There are already several reputable nonprofits leveraging technology to advance their missions and better utilize donor funds. You can’t escape it.

Anywhere you turn your gaze, technology has been evolving relentlessly to satisfy the needs and aspirations of a human-centric world. Experts already expect that technology will continue to change everything around us by 2025. That’s why a growing share of professionals are under the impression that the best bet for a better future is tapping into the promise of Big Data. More importantly, powerful examples of nonprofits using Big Data to address otherwise insurmountable problems already exist.

Nonprofits made significant strides only a few years after being openly denounced for lagging behind the scientific and business communities. Make no mistake, though: Big Data is a valuable asset, but like any instrument, has its pros and cons. Understand the competitive advantage Big Data offers while simultaneously recognizing its limitations. Technology can’t solve everything.

You should be under no illusion that this project will be tremendously difficult. Fortunately, seeking the support of technical experts is well within reason, assuming you can secure client approval. For example, you might consider investigating Acendia, a mobile app developer that caters directly to non-profits. They also plan to launch a software tool in the near future for donor management which should help non-profits target digital marketing and fundraising efforts, all while building up the proper audience to create a successful launch.

Arriving at an elegant product solution is only possible through user research, open communication, and active collaboration--don’t take them for granted.

“Collaboration is the essence of life. The wind, bees, and flowers work together to spread the pollen.” -- Amit Ray

UTA Radio on Facebook

Twitter Feed

UTA News