Tag Archives: analytics
So now we have launched TNB Labs, and all sorts of queries are starting to come in – not just from folks who needs services, but also from folks who want to be part of our circle of mavens who provide services.
From the beginning, we have thought of TNB Labs as a lean organization, nurturing a community of practice that would provide fractional resources to nonprofits that need data and evaluation services.
What follow here are some personal reflections on mobilizing a community of practice. These are free associations, based on a recent conversation with Susan Labandibar. Please don’t regard these ideas as official TNB Labs policy, but as an invitation to engage in your own free associations.
Let’s talk about a hypothetical scenario.
Let’s say that you are a full time employee of a medium-size nonprofit organization. Your job title is “data analyst.” By temperament and training, you are a data geek, and you are proud of using your powers for good. You are passionate about the importance of your work, because it helps your organization document the ways in which it is making the world a better place, while also identifying ways that it could do even better.
However, there are a few things that aren’t perfect about your job:
1) You’re the only person with any kind information technology training at your organization.
1a) This means that you don’t really have people with whom you can regularly compare notes about the intersection of technology and the nonprofit sector.
1b) It also means that you are asked to do all sorts of tasks that aren’t in your areas of interest or expertise, because you are reputed to “know all about computers.” In vain, you do your best to explain that social media campaigns require a different skill set from data analysis, even though there could be some overlap.
2) You’re interested in new challenges, such as becoming an evaluation specialist. However, you don’t want to quit your job at a nonprofit organization that you love, even though you don’t see opportunities opening up there.
3) You’d like to get some experience with the challenges at other nonprofits, but you don’t really want to moonlight, because that implies doing something underhanded, without the knowledge of your home organization.
How about sunlighting? (Not to be confused with the Sunlight Foundation, which is a great and entirely unrelated organization with a great and entirely different mission.)
Here’s how sunlighting might work for you:
1) You join the TNB Labs Community of Practice, which has regular meetings for peer support and professional development.
2) You work with TNB Labs and your home organization to create a three-cornered agreement, so that a certain percentage of your time is devoted to assignments from TNB Labs to provide services at other nonprofits. (That’s what we mean by “fractional resources.”) It’s all done in an ethical and above-board manner. TNB Labs takes responsibility for finding assignments, invoicing the client organizations, and paying you. It might even represent a cost saving for your home organization; they can hire an entry level person at a lower rate to do some of your routine tasks. It will mean less boredom for you, and valuable on-the-job experience for the entry level person.
3) In accordance with nonprofit client demand and your preferences, your potential TNB Labs assignments will vary. They might involve 2 hours or 200 hours of time for a one time-project, or they might involve an hour or a day every week for three years.
4) TNB Labs’ share will be an administrative fee. This will be an excellent value for the client nonprofit, because they can get a fraction of the time of a first-rate professional (that’s you) without having to add another full time position to their payroll for a set of tasks that doesn’t require a full time person.
If you’re a nonprofit data analyst, would you consider this scenario?
If you’re an executive at a nonprofit organization that needs data analysis or evaluation services, would you consider going to TNB Labs for help from a member of our community of practice?
I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section!
Greg Palmer and I are very pleased to announce the launch of TNB Labs, a company dedicated to providing nonprofit organizations with high quality data services and program management. TNB Labs works with organizations to audit and assess data management methodology, develop and implement data standards, and provide structural oversight through data governance to organizations of all sizes.
Through our partnership with Tech Networks of Boston, we have had a unique opportunity to listen to hundreds of stakeholders at TNB’s Roundtables uncover a need to elevate the role of data in nonprofit organizations. TNB Labs is focused on improving the capacity of nonprofit organizations at every stage of the outcome management process.
The immediate priorities of TNB Labs are:
1) Providing Master Data Management (MDM) services to nonprofit organizations in support of their missions, focusing on data governance, data quality, data modeling, data visualizations, and program evaluation.
2) Providing workforce program management for Desktop Support Technicians (DST), Data Support Analysts (DSA), and Data Analytics/Data Evaluation entry level professionals.
3) Managing the TNB Roundtable series, which is now jointly owned by Tech Networks of Boston and TNB Labs.
TNB Labs is led by Greg Palmer (chief executive officer), and Deborah Elizabeth Finn (chief strategic officer). The other co-founders are Bob Master (former CEO of Commonwealth Care Alliance) and Susan Labandibar (founder of Tech Networks of Boston).
TNB Labs is here to solve your problems. Please contact us with any questions and comments you have about TNB Labs, or to learn more about data management or program management services that might be helpful to your organization.
Best regards from Deborah and Greg
Deborah Elizabeth Finn
TNB Labs, LLC
PO Box 2073
Framingham, MA 01703