CompassRed and Strive both moved into The Mill on Day 1, but they didn’t know it until a recent interview with this reporter. That can probably be attributed to the fact that they’re two very different organizations: CompassRed is a data and analytics company with clients like Pabst Brewing Co. and Wawa; Strive is a nonprofit youth leadership sports program. They each just happened to choose The Mill as their workplace.
CompassRed was looking to do some pro-bono work for the community. Strive had data from online surveys filled out by students at the beginning and end of each session, but wasn’t sure what to do with it.
Here’s how these two organizations turned out to be a perfect match.
Their collaboration took the data Strive had collected and analyzed it into a case study on the effectiveness of the program. The effort was also a case study in itself, asking the question, “What if one nonprofit took its research-based curriculum and published it to help other nonprofits with a similar mission of serving youth?”
Andrea Valentine, Strive’s executive director, has been encouraged by the results.
“[They] make it clear where we need to make adjustments,” she said. In turn, that can help other nonprofits. “We’re working toward an off-the-shelf curriculum that can reach more students. We’re closer to that goal now.”
Collaborations like this one make a lot of sense, but they’re actually quite uncommon.
“There were few nonprofits that have embraced data analysis,” said Patrick Callahan of CompassRed. Not a big surprise, since the expense of corporate-style data analysis puts it out of the reach of many nonprofits. But that’s not the only issue. “A lot of times when I’ve approached nonprofits, the response has been, ‘We don’t have the data.'”
The amount of individual participant data that had been collected by Strive made analysis especially effective. “We get excited about data,” said Steve Poulin of CompassRed. “This data was very complete, giving us individual results instead of less accurate overall group results.”
Callahan hopes more nonprofits consider the usefulness of data analysis. “It goes both ways,” he said of the value of such collaborations. “This is the kind of ecosystem that should be developed, with nonprofits and businesses working side by side and influencing each other.”
“It’s another kind of ‘diversity’ in the workplace,” said Poulin. Valentine and Callahan agree.
“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it wasn’t for this kind of workspace,” said Callahan.-30-
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