Project Details

Graphical data points mapping homelessness

Providing smart analytics services for the social sector

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @sumallorg

  • Health
  • Social Exclusion
  • Data
  • Geolocation
  • Internet helps NGOs to use advanced analytics tools they would have neither the funds nor skills to otherwise deploy strategically, towards creating tangible, real-world solutions to pressing social problems.

It is the social impact non-profit related to New York’s commercial data analytics company,  whose corporate clients include the likes of Starbucks and National Geographic. Founder Dane Atkinson designed the company to give 10% of equity to the non-profit, reasoning that ‘analytics is making many parts of our life more efficient and I wish there was more of it in the social sector.’

Key projects include one involving predictive analytics and a tailored outreach strategy, with the NYC Department of Homeless Services and the social service nonprofit organization, CAMBA, to pilot improved identification of renters facing eviction and homelessness in Brooklyn, New York.  The results have been surprising: Over three month, the pilot saw a 50% increase in high-risk families enrolling in New York City’s “Homebase” program while traditional outreach strategies stayed flat.

Perhaps most powerful is the Syria Crisis project, partnered with Humanitarian Tracker, an organization that tracks the cause of death for people killed during the war in Syria.  Through this partnership, and Humanitariant tracker were able to provide valuable analytic support to humanitarian workers,  journalists, and other actors involved in communicating the details of the war.  The database itself holds information on cause of death, names, age, gender, geo location (district level), and includes verification through video links and pictures. Such information, when crowd-sourced and verified, gives a compelling picture of the true scale of the crisis – data on the number of women killed, for example, is indicative of civilian casualties. Their cause of death is also critical –  when combined with the geo location data, it can be used to investigate the difference between collateral damage (associated with artillery and air bombardments) and possible terror tactics used against civilians (snipers targeting of women).

‘In many cases, [our nonprofit partners] have plenty of data to analyse, but don’t have the budgets to pay for a data scientist… and lack the tools and skills to get actionable information out of it,’ says’s executive director Stefan Heeke.

As well as investigative analytics, the company offers services related to data-driven targeting of needs-based interventions, measuring and demonstrating impact, and strategies to improve social service delivery.

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Last updated: 09th of July, 2014

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