The best fundraising analytics/modeling blog I’ve seen…

I’m always on the lookout for good resources to inform and improve the work I do, especially when it comes to prospect research, analytics, predictive modeling, and fundraising. Generally, it’s hard to say there’s a lot out there that deals with all of these topics. You can find things on prospect research; boatloads of people seem to write about fundraising; analytics and predictive modeling are mushrooming in a number of sectors — and so is the writing about them. But there don’t seem to be a whole lot of people writing about analytics in fundraising, so I was really pleasantly surprised to stumble onto Kevin MacDonell’s blog, “CoolData.”

Kevin clearly knows his stuff when it comes to analytics and statistical techniques. He covers a wealth of topics, and while he claims to be a “non-expert,” his thorough understanding of the nearly-always-complex subject matter is exemplified by how well he explains things in his posts. (Kevin was a journalism major. I’m guessing that, based on the quality of my own writing here, you can tell that I was not.)

As any CRISP-DM process model enthusiast will attest, a quality predictive modeling project requires good business understanding and good data understanding. By extension, I would opine that any quality fundraising analytics professional will also possess solid understanding of both the business (fundraising) and the data and the techniques required to deal with that data. By FURTHER extension, the best fundraising analytics resources also get to the heart of good business understanding and good data understanding. CoolData definitely hits the mark where this is concerned.

Kevin appears to have started CoolData a mere six months ago, and he has already populated the blog with LOTS of great posts. I look forward to seeing what else CoolData will cover.

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One response to “The best fundraising analytics/modeling blog I’ve seen…

  1. Thank you for the review. I wish more people doing nonprofit work (and specifically, analytics work for nonprofits) would share their knowledge via blogs. Listservs are great but they are closed forums (in the sense that one doesn’t simply stumble upon them), and all the great content seems to go down the memory hole. Oddly enough, the blog format is ideally suited both for the ephemeral technical ‘tip of the day’ and the revelation of powerful ideas that can influence the direction of the profession you work in. Blogging is also the best venue for the non-expert author, enthusiastically working out problems in real time, and learning through explaining concepts while they are fresh in the brain – before they become encoded as ‘background knowledge’. Enthusiasm and curiosity, not high-level expertise or a degree in journalism, are the ingredients for engaging knowledge-sharing. Our profession is full of people (like yourself) who have those qualities.

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