Honing Your Craft: Data Science

Recorded On: 11/13/2019


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How do you become a fundraising data scientist? Many of us come into fundraising analytics from other careers and degrees -- and the field of fundraising data science is a maturing field, growing in its methods and career pathways. In short, there are many routes to mastery. Choosing projects, deciding what additional skills you might need, and practicing those skills on the job are all part of the fun juggling act we encounter. The good news is that there are folks who are paving the way and can offer advice -- hear from three data craftspeople discuss their approaches to learning, talk shop about tools, and discuss what they're practicing now.

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This session is part of the Plug In to Data Science Bundle.

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Honing Your Craft: Data Science
Recorded 11/13/2019
Recorded 11/13/2019 How do you become a fundraising data scientist? Many of us come into fundraising analytics from other careers and degrees -- and the field of fundraising data science is a maturing field, growing in its methods and career pathways. In short, there are many routes to mastery. Choosing projects, deciding what additional skills you might need, and practicing those skills on the job are all part of the fun juggling act we encounter. The good news is that there are folks who are paving the way and can offer advice -- come hear from three data craftspeople discuss their approaches to learning, talk shop about tools, and discuss what they're practicing now.

Barron Cato

Associate Director of Advancement Data Science

University of Washington

Barron Cato is Associate Director of Advancement Data Science at the University of Washington. His 20+ years in non-profit development work has focused on fundraising, prospect research, and analytics. Barron has served on the Northwest Development Officers Association Board (NDOA), the Apra Data Analytics Symposium Committee and as chair of the Apra Awards Committee. He currently serves on the Apra International Board and is board liaison to Apra's Data Science Committee. Barron has presented on prospect research and analytics at NDOA, UW fundraising certificate courses, Apra-NW, Apra Data Analytics Symposium, Apra OverDrive, and contributed to Apra Connections. Barron received the Apra Margret Furhy Award in 2014. 

Michael Reed

Prospect Analyst

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation

Michael Reed is a Prospect Analyst for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation’s prospect development department. Michael leverages the analytical power of tools such as R and SQL to inform strategy and assist in the identification and solicitation of the hospital’s top donors. He builds reports, dashboards and predictive models to identify and explain patterns in donor behavior, and acts as liaison to top fundraising consulting firms like Bentz Whaley Flessner. 

Michael holds a bachelor's in economics from The George Washington University in his hometown, Washington, DC. He currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he enjoys playing pick-up basketball, live music and spending quality time with family.

James Cheng

Senior Associate Director for Prospect Identification and Analytics

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund’s Division of Philanthropy

James Cheng currently holds the position of Senior Associate Director for Prospect Identification & Analytics under Prospect Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & The Jimmy Fund’s Division of Philanthropy. Other than fundraising, he has made intellectual and professional forays into cell and development biology, high school teaching, academic research in education, as well as healthcare market research. While finishing up a doctorate degree in applied statistics in education at Boston College, James' interest in philanthropy was piqued when he took on the role of Prospect Data Mining and Modeling Specialist at MIT. After spending time in the corporate world as a healthcare market researcher, James left the Dark Side and returned to the Light of fundraising data science, first at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as Associate Director and then at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as Development Data Analytics Specialist and Senior Data Scientist.