Gary Wexler from USC/Annenberg School of Communication wrote an interesting article asking, "Could the Incessant Demand for Data Kill Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector?" With a background in the big corporate advertising world as well as helping to market over 1,000 nonprofits I think his points warrant consideration. For example:
Data does not work for measuring donor trends. If you run massive small dollar campaigns maybe you can do data analysis after a few years. But big gifts are motivated by deep, internal human acts, not data.
No nonprofit is the sole influencer of results. When thinking about changing peoples' lives, who knows how many influences created the changes?
Data results may kill innovation. Nonprofit work is the essence of new ideas, changing situations, and dynamic alternatives. Success is based on human interactions to solve complex problems. Much of it is based on anecdotal results, not data.
"What happened to intelligent risk by implementing a new idea?" he asks. Here's to the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive ... be bold, nonprofits!
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