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Software Looks to Transform NFP Data Access


5 September 2018 at 5:23 pm
Maggie Coggan
Figuring out complex data sets might be a thing of the past, with a new software program promising to transform the way NFPs access data, making it simpler to anticipate community need.


Maggie Coggan | 5 September 2018 at 5:23 pm


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Software Looks to Transform NFP Data Access
5 September 2018 at 5:23 pm

Figuring out complex data sets might be a thing of the past, with a new software program promising to transform the way NFPs access data, making it simpler to anticipate community need.

Community Insight Australia (CIA) developed the software by transforming data from the publicly available Australian Bureau of Statistics into “social profile” maps of geographical communities.  

Social indicators such as socio-economic indexes, Centrelink payments, and hospital admissions for mental health could be viewed by users, and other geographical areas of interest could be compared through the program.    

CIA founder and social impact analyst, Emma Tomkinson, said she was inspired to develop the platform after using similar software in the UK, where she saw how it could “enhance the work” of social purpose organisations.

“Unfortunately, in Australia most large-scale community-based programs are being designed without using the information available, as it’s been so hard to access in the past”, Tomkinson said.

She also found programs that worked well in one area, didn’t do so well in another as there weren’t any changes made to fit the specific needs of the community.

“This wastes money and reduces the success and effectiveness of the program,” she said.

“We are putting the wealth of Australian data at everyone’s fingertips, from CEOs of national organisations to grassroots community program designers.”  

Many large charity organisations, such as Uniting, Save the Children Australia and The Salvation Army have already tested the program, and CIA are encouraging more NFP groups to get on board.

Business partner at Uniting, Matt Bevan, said having easy access to a “range of social indicators” made it easier to create programs that actually have an impact.

“It helps us better use the information we have, to meet the needs of those we serve,” Bevan said.


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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