DataKind FAQ

Here are the most common questions that we receive. We hope you find this helpful! Other questions? Email us.

About DataKind
DataKind is a global nonprofit that harnesses the power of data science and AI in the service of humanity. Named one of Fast Company's 2017 top 10 innovative nonprofits, DataKind engages pro bono data scientists and leading social change organizations on projects that address critical humanitarian problems and drive the conversation about how machine learning and AI can be applied to solve the world’s biggest challenges. Launched in 2012, DataKind is headquartered in New York City and has Chapters in Bengaluru, San Francisco, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Washington DC. For more information on DataKind’s partners and programs, visit our blog.

DataKind teams talented pro bono experts from academia and industry with visionary changemakers to collaboratively design innovative solutions to tough social challenges. We help social organizations apply their data to predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and AI needs in a way that both increases impact and is sensitive to the ethical considerations they have.

Top data scientists, hailing from places like Netflix and MIT, have generously donated their time on over 250 DataKind projects, creating algorithms that have helped transport clean water more effectively, informed government policy that protects communities from corruption, and detected crop disease using satellite imagery. We’ve helped the World Bank estimate poverty from satellite imagery, teamed with the Grameen Foundation to improve their programs in Uganda, and joined the Red Cross in using fire data and open city data to understand where fires are most likely to occur.

DataKind has helped to connect a global network of more than 20,000 volunteers in five chapter cities (Bengaluru, San Francisco, Singapore, United Kingdom, and Washington, DC) to deliver more than $25 million in pro bono data science services to social change organizations worldwide.

We’d love to keep you updated on DataKind and all things data and AI for the greater good. Please sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page or apply to volunteer.
Our Volunteers
There are a number of ways to get involved! If you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up to donate a few hours at a community event or weekend DataDive® or apply to donate a few months working on a DataCorps® project. Please complete a volunteer application and indicate if you’re near one of our DataKind Chapters, so we can contact you with volunteer opportunities in your area that are a fit for your skills. DataCorps projects are selected on a rolling basis throughout the year, and it can take some time to find the right fit in this highly selective process. We also encourage you to reach out to a DataKind Chapter near you and join to stay informed about upcoming local happenings like DataDive events, Project Accelerators, project meetups, or other fun get togethers. Not located in one of these areas? Not a problem. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook where we announce volunteer opportunities (sometimes virtual volunteer opportunities) that come up, and when we’re going to be on the road, perhaps speaking at or attending a conference or event near you!
If you’re located near a DataKind Chapter, we highly recommend you join to stay informed about upcoming local happenings like DataDive events, Project Accelerators, or other fun get togethers. However, even if you’re not located by a DataKind Chapter, please complete a volunteer application and follow us on our social channels, as often times we’ll post virtual volunteer opportunities via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Thanks for applying to use your skills on our data for good projects! DataCorps® projects are selected on a rolling basis throughout the year, and it can take some time to find the right fit in this highly selective process. With specific requirements for candidate skill set and availability (we often have far more applicants than projects!), a DataCorps project may not be the right opportunity for everyone. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook where we announce volunteer opportunities (sometimes virtual volunteer opportunities, as we’ve mentioned above!) that come up and follow the instructions we post to submit your interest through our open calls. We also encourage you to reach out to a DataKind Chapter near you and join to stay informed about upcoming local happenings like DataDive® events, Project Accelerators, or other fun get togethers.
Our Chapter Network
DataKind Chapters are local hubs that have joined in our mission to use data science and AI for the greater good. Most of our chapters are volunteer-led (with the exception of DataKind UK) and represent some of the leading data scientists and forward-thinking social innovators around the globe. Chapters are run by volunteer chapter leaders, spearheading the Data for Good movement in their communities, organizing events, and connecting local data scientist volunteers with mission-driven organizations to uncover world-changing answers through data.
The five DataKind Chapters were launched in 2014. We're in the midst of assessing our capacity to support more chapters this year, so there are no immediate plans to roll out more. We want to make sure that as we grow, we grow well. Please do let us know if you'd be interested in starting a DataKind Chapter or having a DataKind Chapter near you!
We're thrilled that you’d like to join the movement! Working with local chapter leaders expands the greater Data for Good movement, and we’d love to include you in that. We're in the midst of assessing our capacity to support more chapters this year, so there are no immediate plans to roll out more. Until then, please make sure to follow us along on the journey [Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook]!
Our Programs
DataKind’s programs range from short-term engagements done in an evening or a weekend to long-term, multi-month projects. Regardless of the time commitment, all are designed to bring together data scientists and social change organizations on meaningful projects to move the needle on humanitarian challenges. Organizations often participate in multiple programs, starting with a weekend DataDive® and then build on that work by engaging with us on a longer-term DataCorps® project, for example. Programs are implemented through DataKind Global as well as our Chapter network. Participants are selected through our application process.
DataDive events are weekend-long, marathon-style happenings where teams of data science volunteers rally together to help social change organizations do initial data analysis, exploration, and prototyping.
DataCorps bring together teams of pro bono data scientists with social change organizations on long-term projects that use data science to transform their work and their sector. These projects tend to run for six to nine months.
DataJams are typically one-night events where volunteers work together to clean and prepare partner organization data and clarify the project scope ahead of a weekend DataDive®.
These ‘ideation’ nights help catalyze data-driven project ideas for mission-driven organizations. Stickies and conversations are favored over computers and data, and useful questions are generated through interactive small-group conversations between the organization and a selection of local pro bono data scientist attendees.
DataKind has built a community of passionate data scientists, visionary partners, and mission-driven organizations with the talent, commitment, and energy to use data science and AI in the service of humanity. These events are designed to give data science and social sector experts a welcoming space to lean in, shake hands, and get on a first name basis. These individual relationships form the foundation for everything else we do so we take having fun seriously!
Each chapter hosts programming that fits with their local Data for Good community. In addition to the programs listed above, activities at the Chapter-level could include:
  • DataLearns - Gain insights about applying data for good as we share learnings from completed projects
  • Reading Groups - Explore topics relevant to our mission as we read through and discuss key publications (from ethics to social sector engagement, etc.)
  • Volunteer Trainings - Learn best practices for working with social sector organizations on data for good projects
  • Office Hours - Support social sector organizations with a variety of data science and data capacity needs
  • And more! - Check out your local chapter’s Meetup page for upcoming events.
Our Projects
We’re here to help as much as we can! Currently, the best way to propose a project is to sign up on our website here. We're only able to work with a few select organizations each year, but we’ll do our best to get in touch with you soon if there’s a good fit for us to work together! We have three main kinds of project partnerships - DataCorps®, DataDive® events, and Community Events. We’re always looking to partner with organizations that are thinking about new ways that they can use data to innovate or maximize their impact.
We love this question! Successful projects require several ingredients: datasets, partnership, tight scoping, and sufficient resources, including funding and capacity to develop and maintain the end deliverables. Do you have a strong theory of change? Is your team open to an innovative design process? Do you suspect data or algorithms could help you in your mission, but want to learn more? Then sign up! Groups that have clear theories of change and digital data on hand have the best chance of being selected. For more information, listen to Jake Porway, DataKind’s Founder and Executive Director, talk about what it takes to apply data science for social good and read about the five principles for applying data science for social good.
Currently, we’re accepting applications, although we only kick off new projects roughly every three months. We select projects based on a few factors, including our volunteer supply, internal capacity, and the mix of our current portfolio of projects. For additional information, please refer to the question and answer above. Please know that we have a high volume of incoming applications from organizations looking to work with us, so we may not be able to respond to everyone.
Of course! You can check out the blog and project sections of the DataKind website, which highlight some of our work. Happy reading!
You can access the Colandr Community here. Maintenance is provided by Samantha Cheng, and you can get in touch with her here. For more information on Colandr, have a look at the following paper!
Our Partners
DataDive® events are great happenings that are always positive experiences for all (our project partners, volunteers, hosts, and sponsors). If you're interested in supporting an upcoming DataDive, please contact with an overview of how you'd like to be involved.
As a nonprofit, DataKind raises a majority of our revenue through partnerships with corporations who fund our social impact work. We co-design the partnership to meet both our goals. At present, this is the quickest way to work with us, as we have a number of projects and events planned for 2019 and beyond in our Chapter locations and New York. If this is something you’d be interested in exploring, please contact us at to discuss upcoming opportunities.
Most of DataKind’s pro bono data scientists have day jobs, and choose to volunteer with us in their spare time as individuals. However, an increasing number of corporations are asking how their staff could lend their technical expertise to great mission-driven organizations, and volunteer collectively as part of a CSR effort. This is fantastic to hear, as we believe that corporate teams are to play a significant role in making the vision of a social sector with affordable access to data science, machine learning, and AI capacity a reality. As this is something that we’re currently developing, we’re not yet able to share specific opportunities for your team to contribute at this time. However, if you’re interested in hearing more about this type of partnership, we can document your interest and then reach out at the appropriate time. Please contact us for more information.
Conferences + Events
Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook where we announce when and where we’re going to be on the road, perhaps speaking at or attending a conference or event near you!
Thanks for thinking of us! As much as we’d love to help, our office space sadly doesn’t allow for this.
We’re honored! Please email us and include as much information as possible on the event.
At DataKind, we love learning about conferences, events, and potential collaborations where we can further our mission and support the Data for Good movement. If you’d like to share information on a potential community or media partnership, please email us here. If you’d like to discuss a potential sponsorship or other form of partnership, please contact us here.
Speaker Requests
Very exciting! Please send over the details, including who will be the audience, who else will be speaking at the conference, and if travel and accommodations will be provided. We’ll get back to you at our soonest.
Thanks for thinking of Jake! As you can imagine, we receive quite a bit of speaker requests for him. Similar to the above, if you’d like to invite him to speak at an upcoming event, please share as much information with us about the opportunity, and we’ll follow up with you once we’ve discussed internally.
Career Opportunities
DataKind is always looking for enthusiastic data do-gooders to join us in tackling the world’s toughest problems with data science, machine learning, and AI. We’re a fast growing, global team that believes in the power of data and collaboration to change the world. We want to build a diverse and inclusive work environment that reflects the society and communities in which we’re located. If you want to work with cutting-edge technologies, committed data scientists, and inspiring changemakers around the world, we want to hear from you!
We post all of our job opportunities on the Careers page of our website. Please make sure to check it regularly as well as follow us on social [Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook] as we’ll often post job opportunities on there as well.
If you completed the application form, rest assured, it was received. We’ll contact you if we have an opening that’s in line with your background. Due to the overwhelming response to our job opportunities, we aren’t able to respond to all inquiries. As always, thanks for considering DataKind!
Thanks so much for your interest in DataKind! Currently, we don’t have any internship opportunities available. However, if you’d like to be considered for future internship opportunities, please complete the application form here.
We're thrilled that you’d like to chat with us! We love nothing more than sharing the great work of our volunteers, helping others think about transformational ways that they can use data, or discussing how they can be a part of the wider Data for Good movement! Unfortunately, we can't accept all of the invitations for calls or meetings that we receive. We can promise you that we'll consider all requests and will most certainly try to respond as quickly and as fully as our bandwidth and priorities allow.
Well, congrats to you, and thanks for visiting our website! We encourage you to pick a field of study that you’re most interested in and then figure out what areas you need to supplement. Take a look at this online course. Programming is definitely helpful - most of our volunteers use R or Python. Also, we can’t stress enough, creativity and real-world applications are really where the magic happens. For some, the best approach is to just roll up your sleeves and start playing with data and different data tools and find some friends to join you! Get comfortable with and seek out opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. For example, DrivenData has interesting competitions using predictive analytics and groups like make their data available for people to explore. Finally, there are a ton of great (and free!) resources on O'Reilly if you aren't already checking those things out too. We hope you find this helpful!
We typically don't work with individuals or classes to provide datasets or project partners. There are some public datasets that might help you in your work., a nonprofit organization that provides teachers in the U.S. the chance to crowdfund the items they most need for their classroom, has a very rich dataset available here: GiveDirectly is a nonprofit organization that aims to reshape international giving by sending money directly to the extreme poor. They publish their performance data daily: A great open data resource from the World Bank is here: Additionally, we’d recommend taking a look at Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), DrivenData, and Booz Allen Hamilton’s Data Science Bowl.
Today’s donors align with DataKind because they’ve recognized the power of data science, AI, and machine learning to accelerate the pace of impact within the social sectors. DataKind maximizes the impact of their philanthropy. Nonprofits, NGOs, and government agencies that engage in DataKind projects learn to be more data-centric in their approach to solving social sector challenges. In addition, we make ample room for these same donors to offer strategic advice and subject matter expertise via DataKind Advisors, which is made up of top business professionals and leading social activists.
Many of DataKind’s star data for good community members are now reaching a professional level that’s putting considerable time constraints on their ability to volunteer, yet they’re still eager to stay connected with our fast growing organization. At this point in their careers, financial participation simply makes more sense. Transitioning from volunteering time to donating is equally rewarding as DataKind offers these donors regular updates on our programs and access to reports that demonstrate the power and purpose of their investments. Also, many of our donors’ employers have matching programs that helps their funding go twice as far. Oh, and if you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, you’re always welcome to join our next DataDive® event and hang with the community! For more information, please contact Quentin Walz.
Sure! We’re thrilled that DataKind is receiving major support from the Data Science for Social Impact collaborative funded by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Impact Fund - administered by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. Data Science for Social Impact is a transformational model for collaborative philanthropy to accelerate the use of data science by empowering nonprofit, civic, and government organizations with the tools, expertise, and other capabilities they need to help solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The grant allows us to transition from a project to a platform-based model, thereby, supporting more organizations on a set of high impact areas, such as community health and inclusive growth. We’re humbled and honored that these two groups are supporting our mission with $20M over five years to help us grow to support the needs of the sector. For more information, please see the links below.
A list can be found on the supporters page of the DataKind website.
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