DataKind FAQ

Below are the most common questions that we receive. We hope you find this helpful! Other questions? Email us at contact@datakind.org.

ABOUT DATAKIND

  • What is 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 Bangalore, San Francisco, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Washington DC. For more information on DataKind’s partners and programs, visit our blog.

  • What exactly do you do?

    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 (Bangalore, 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.

  • Can you add me to your mailing list ?

    We’d love to keep you updated on DataKind and all things data and AI for the greater good. Please complete the following questions, and you’ll be added to our mailing list.

  • I have a Data for Good job, internship, or fellowship opportunity. Can DataKind share it with its community?

    First, thanks for thinking of us! We’d be happy to consider sharing the opportunity with our community and spreading the word. Feel free to tag us on Twitter or DM us, and we’ll share (if appropriate).

OUR VOLUNTEERS

  • How can I get involved?

    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 events like DataDives, 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!

  • Do you have to be located near a DataKind Chapter in order to be a volunteer?

    If you’re located near a DataKind Chapter, we highly recommend you join to stay informed about upcoming local events like DataDives, 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.

  • I’ve applied to volunteer with DataKind, but I haven’t heard anything back. What are the next steps?

    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 events like DataDives, Project Accelerators, or other fun get togethers.

OUR CHAPTER NETWORK

OUR PROGRAMS

  • What do DataKind programs entail?

    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 HQ as well as our global Chapter network. Participants are selected through our application process.

  • What are DataDives?

    DataDives are weekend-long, marathon-style events where teams of data science volunteers rally together to help social change organizations do initial data analysis, exploration, and prototyping.

  • What is DataCorps?

    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.

  • What are DataJams?

    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.

  • What are Project Accelerators?

    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.

  • What are Community Events?

    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!

  • What DataKind programs take place at a local level or within a Chapter?

    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 a nonprofit, NGO, or government agency and need your help. Can you work on our project?

    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, DataDives, 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.

  • What are the key components of a successful data science for good project?

    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.

  • I submitted a project, but haven’t heard back. What’s next?

    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.

  • Can I learn more about previous projects?

    Of course! You can check out the blog and project sections of the DataKind website, which highlight some of our work. Happy reading!

  • I have a question about the Colandr app. Who do I get in touch with?

    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

CONFERENCES + EVENTS

SPEAKER REQUESTS

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

  • How can I apply to work at DataKind?

    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!

  • Can I speak to someone about job opportunities?

    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.

  • I submitted my resume to DataKind, but I haven’t heard anything back.

    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!

  • Do you have internships available?

    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.

  • Can I set up an informational call/informational interview to learn more about DataKind?

    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.

ACADEMIA

  • I’m a student. What areas should I focus on or skills should I hone if I’m interested in data science?

    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 DonorsChoose.org 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!

  • I teach a class and would like to have my students work on datasets from your projects/partners. Do you all have any programs or initiatives with universities?

    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. DonorsChoose.org, 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: https://data.donorschoose.org/. 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: https://givedirectly.org/. A great open data resource from the World Bank is here: https://beta.data.worldbank.org/. Additionally, we’d recommend taking a look at Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), DrivenData, and Booz Allen Hamilton’s Data Science Bowl.

DONATE

  • How can I accelerate impact within my chosen social sector?

    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.

  • I want to give to DataKind but my time is limited. How does donating keep me connected to the cause?

    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 and hang with the community! For more information, please contact Quentin Walz.

FUNDING

WEBSITE