Recently a few of my colleagues and I participated in a month-long hackathon, hosted by Logi Analytics, an insightsoftware company, who partnered with United Way of the National Capital Area (NCA). In the hackathon, a handful of competing teams submitted entries to create a custom dashboard for United Way NCA, which aims at aiding students and families in the Washington, D.C. area. The goal was to create a visual and interactive solution for their constituents that communicates who benefits from their grant program’s partnerships. My team from STChealth, a vaccine intelligence company focused on eradicating preventable diseases, submitted the winning dashboard.
Our team approached this hackathon task the same way we approach any of our analytics projects – focusing on the data first. We used Logi Composer as our primary embedded analytics tool to try and demonstrate the benefits and impact of each of the United Way NCA grant program partnerships, and how they’re successful to the non-profit group.
At STChealth, our team normally uses row level data as part of our work, so this dataset presented an exciting new opportunity to work with column-based data. It was also a learning experience when the opportunity presented itself, building on Logi’s out-of-the-box features – and pushing the boundaries with new functionalities, such as a custom sunburst visualization.
“It was definitely challenging at first… [but] I had a lot of help from Logi, because I kept reaching out via email asking questions. But I think just that process of asking questions helped me a lot, and the feedback I got, the help I got from Logi really helped me.”
To create the project, we started with a collaborative, data-first mindset, writing a little bit of Python code to parse outcome data and create a more standardized approach to the dataset. We also cleaned up region and program names before uploading the dataset back into Composer as a flat file.
During development, we held iterative discussions to brainstorm what type of information to visualize which would be most helpful for United Way NCA. The custom dashboard was designed for executives, program managers, and volunteers, highlighting descriptive statistics and outcome-related information to drive decision making. We were particularly excited about this project because it was rewarding to help such an impactful organization realize the value of their work and better be able to utilize their funding to benefit the most people.
The key performance indicators and visuals display program participation, specific characteristics (income, age, race) across geographic locations, and veteran/employment information throughout the dataset. This type of dashboard will help United Way NCA – and other non-profit organizations, where funds can sometimes be scarce – to target resources to programs currently providing returns.
We were able to make intelligent use of the enhanced Logi Composer UI for cross source linking and cross dashboard linking which we paired with interactive capabilities to create the winning project. When a user selects a search option, the outcomes dashboard automatically filters the dashboard down to the selected option. Both impact and outcome are shown, including total number of clients impacted – and how it impacted the original target – with program-by-program breakdown.
The end result is a tool designed to help United Way NCA to highlight valuable insights from their current operational programs.
Joining me on the STChealth team was Roni Salman, Jordan McKinney, and Kaye Kleine. We are thankful to Logi Analytics’ gift for the hackathon and will split a total prize of $1,500 in eGift cards.
We look forward to the next hackathon!