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Node X research: Optimizing nonprofit capacity with Data Collaboration

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

The Data Collaboration Alliance is working with the Community YWCA of Muskoka to maximize outcomes for nonprofit teams through Data Collaboration

Nonprofit organizations perform some of the most vital work in maintaining a just and functional society and they do so with some of the tightest resource constraints - both human and financial - of any sector.


A big area of concern that all nonprofits share is the level of effort associated with managing data, including its collection, protection, access, and use.


A major survey of nonproft employees concluded that the state of data in the sector is undeniably strong:

  • 90% indicate their organizations are collecting data

  • 87% believe data to be at least moderately important to operations

  • 97% said they wanted to learn more about data and how to use it effectively

However, the respondents also made clear that practices and culture are still catching up:

  • 46% revealed that their data is spread across multiple systems

  • 6% feel confident that the data at their disposal is being used effectively

  • 66% reported not having a specific staff member dedicated to data management

  • 5% of respondents say their decisions are always driven by data

So while data is deemed vital to nonprofit teams, it is fragmented, under-resourced, and under-utilised as a means to drive better outcomes.


Node X project: Optimizing nonprofit capacity


Through its Node X program, the Data Collaboration Alliance is supporting the Community YWCA of Muskoka with free software and other resources to h


elp them examine the impact of Data Collaboration on small nonprofit teams.


The research is being conducted as a 'Proof of Concept' (POC) taking place over a 3 month period and includes the following objectives:

  1. Migrate program data from spreadsheets to a Data Collaboration environment

  2. Introduce granular access controls to data, esp. personally-identifiable data

  3. Introduce next-generation Data Governance (Data Mesh / domain-centricity)

  4. Extend datasets via direct engagement between users + systems (Data Collaboration)

  5. Blend and query program data to generate insights (Data Analytics)

  6. Build protoype 'No Code' system with no new database or Data Integration and negligible IT resource (data-centricity)

Research goals


The goal of this Node X Data For Good project is to measure the impact of Dataware technology and the Data Collaboration approach on the following:

  1. Reduce / eliminate 'operational' spreadsheets

  2. Improve Data Protection compliance

  3. Improve data accessibility

  4. Automate data enrichment

  5. Generate program-related insights

  6. Improve cross-team problem-solving (without compromising data ownership)

Research team