Through better technology like donation, grant management, and business intelligence platforms, nonprofits can use data to improve strategies to increase their impact. To advance the use of data, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced a total grant of $21 million to support research that will improve data-driven decision making, Philanthropy News Digest reported.
The grants were given through the Data-Driven Discovery Initiative, which aims to fund research that will improve data collection and mining to gain greater insight, according to the website. The recipients of the unrestricted five-year grants are 15 researchers working in fields like astrophysics, genomics, wildlife ecology, mathematics, computer science, and more. For example, Jeffrey Heer of the University of Washington’s Interactive Data Lab works on perceptual, cognitive, and social factors involved in analyzing large sets of data. Another grant recipient, Laurel Larson of the University of California Berkeley’s Environmental Systems Dynamics Laboratory studies how water flowing through the environment impacts ecosystems and environments.
Besides, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation partnered with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and three universities to create dedicated data science environments to increase collaboration and more effectively advance scientific discovery.
Many areas of science are currently data-rich but discovery-poor,” said Vicki Chandler, chief program officer for science at the Moore Foundation. “The Moore Investigator Awards in Data-Driven Discovery aim to reverse that trend by enabling researchers to harness the unprecedented diversity of scientific data now available and answer new kinds of questions. We hope that other funders, public and private, will join us in supporting this transformation.”
While scientific fields may initially benefit from better data mining tactics, the knowledge will eventually spread to all organizations, including nonprofits. Like the scientific fields Chandler noted, many nonprofits also have huge amounts of data that, if harnessed appropriately, could yield revelations that could lead to significant improvements internally and in constituent relationships.