Unissant’s Mark Bolgiano Speaks on Big Data’s Potential for Nonprofits
Reston firm’s EVP proposes “Lab Project” in plenary address to National Council of Nonprofits Annual Meeting.
WASHINGTON, DC, June 5, 2013 – In a morning keynote speech to the annual meeting of the National Council of Nonprofits, Unissant’s Mark Bolgiano offered a vision of how the data revolution could change the way that nonprofits work, and challenged state council leaders to participate in a national “data lab project” to give member organizations hands-on experience and learn to take advantage of the growth of free public data sources, new methods for gathering information, and using desktop software such as Excel to analyze and visualize data.
Bolgiano, a technology thought leader in the nonprofit and philanthropy sector for 25 years, highlighted the general scope, scale, and impact of big data, and focused on areas of potential benefit affecting those functions that most nonprofits have in common.
To demonstrate how nonprofits can use new technologies to gather and analyze data at little or no cost as part of their “listening post” role to track information about their communities, or as a thought leader interested in learning about and distributing new practices and ideas, Bolgiano demonstrated the use of so-called “fire hose” services with metrics and detail data on every mention of nonprofits in the previous 24 hours of Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress blogs.
Bolgiano also introduced the concept of a public data utility for nonprofits, citing the evolution of GuideStar, a public charity that collects, analyzes, and publishes information on nonprofit organizations as an example of this trend in the nonprofit sector.
Referring to the common task of providing financial information as part of nonprofit management, grant proposals, transparency and good governance, Bolgiano challenged the annual meeting attendees to imagine nonprofit funding as an investment, and asked if the nonprofit sector might imitate capital markets in their use of data and technology to overcome friction in the investment process. He closed with an invitation to collaborate together to test the theory in a lab or workshop setting.
Unissant is a professional services, data architecture and systems engineering firm providing advanced information management solutions to government, commercial, and non-profit clients. It is a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 3 compliant SBA 8a Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB).
Contact: Mark Bolgiano 202.379.8900