Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

SXSW: New York City's Data Hacking for Good

By Amy Sample Ward - March 12, 2013

More and more city governments are working to share data and engage citizens in creating information systems and solutions that support engagement, access to resources, and much more. At SXSW Interactive, Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, shared an update about the city’s attempts to open up data and collaborate with developers and the public.

In the panel Hacking Cities for a Better, Sustainable Tomorrow, Haot explained NYC’s approach to “hacking”, saying that instead of fighting against the process or creating an “us versus them” situation with developers, taking a hacker approach allows the city to work collaboratively with citizens. “If we unleash our data resources in the right way, then we can build really cool stuff together,” Haot said. It’s about embracing the agency that the public already has and taking it to a new level.

Bryan Walsh, senior editor for Time Magazine and the panel moderator, asked Haot what the New York City office did in response to Hurricane Sandy. Haot explained that it was a very difficult time yet they “used digital technology in a greater extent than [they] ever had in the past.”

When it came to the application of technology for engagement, NYC has 300 social profiles, with one set of parent accounts for each channel. Normally the various accounts are managed autonomously, but during Sandy they consolidated that management. Haot said, “It was crucial to keep people up to date. Social media was a lifeline for those that could access it via mobiles because Twitter, Facebook, and other apps took very little data to access and they could report that they were okay or get information. We had accelerated approvals process so if a department had a new status update, the message could be verified with legal and any other necessary departments as quickly as possible and then posted.” Twitter worked with the City to support promoted tweets so anyone searching for Sandy on Twitter would see the updates from the Mayor’s Office. “We streamed every press conference online with over a million views.”

Alternatively, on the data side of things, the City has over 11,000 datasets, and one of them is on hurricane evacuation zones. “Coming up to the storm, we reached out and made sure that everyone using that dataset had the newest data. We estimate that we served millions more people through those partners building their own maps than we could have reached alone,” said Haot. It doesn’t mean the City has to be the sole source as long as they can get the data to people who need it and can share it.

Haot also touched on some of the changes the City is making for the future. “In Sandy, we had 900 technologists come to us asking for help but we didn’t have them vetted or know their competencies. Now we can do that ahead of time and get people ready to go in the case of emergency.” The City has established fourteen partnerships with groups like easy, Tumblr, Code for America, and others to ensure that people are prepared to work closely with the City in times of disaster to use and distribute data as well as inform and serve impacted communities.

For more about the digital office from the Mayor’s Office, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/digital/html/about/about.shtml

Podcast_forHub_500x500

Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.


Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!

Newsletters

Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up



click here to return to the previous page