FAQ

Becoming a D4GO Client

What is this ‘Data Ambassador’ you speak of?

Every project has one data ambassador (DA). They are responsible to be the main contact point with the organization, so that we don’t all send the org emails with questions about the data. the DA will field any data related questions, and work with the org to extract the data from their system and make it available in a suitable form for the team. They also ensure that the org understands the risk associated with releasing their data.

What projects have you already done?

We completed our first project in 2015 for the Ottawa Food Bank, helping them to understand demand for food in the Ottawa region. We are nearing the end of a project for the Youville Center, helping them understand their donor base. And we have several projects that are just in the beginning stages.

How do you choose which projects to work on?

We have a set of criteria to help guide us. Basically the name ‘Data For Good Ottawa’ says it all. The organization must be ‘for good’ and Ottawa based (if it is elsewhere, one of our other chapters might be better located). The organization must have specific questions that we can answer, with the answer having an impact on their business, and the data needed to answer the question available. The organization must agree to & understand our confidentiality statement (more about that below). Note these are guidelines, not set in stone.

What about data confidentiality?

We have a data confidentiality policy that we go over in detail with the organizations we work with. The data is owned by the Organization that D4GO is working with, and it is the responsibility of the Organization to ensure that they are comfortable with any data released to D4GO. The D4GO Data Ambassador will work with the Organization to explain possible confidentiality concerns of any data set that may be released, and suggest alternatives, trade-offs, etc. The D4GO Data Ambassador will not release to the larger D4GO membership any data set that the Organization has not agreed to in writing. Although D4GO expects members to treat the data in a respectful manner, D4GO has no formal agreements in place that guarantee the privacy of data sets or resulting outputs. See our Data Confidentiality page for more info.

Becoming a D4GO Volunteer

How do you find projects?

From members talking to colleagues, neighbors, friends and family members. We are also fortunate in that we may have some repeat customers, and of course, this website!

I’m just a beginner – how can I help?

Absolutely. The people who run the organizations we work with are very busy doing their jobs, and may not have the time or skill-set for data science type work, so some of the most valuable things we do are simple charts of their data that allow them to see trends, breakdowns, etc. In addition, we usually provide starter code to help the team get going, and occasional tutorial type sessions at the meetups. See our Get Involved page for more details.

Do people pair up or mostly work solo?

Whatever works for you.

What tools do you use?

Whatever works for you. Most members use R, Python or Tableau, Excel but some use SAS, Mathematica, etc. Of late, we have been using Google Docs for final publication of the report to the client, which has been a great way of supporting collaboration.