CONNECT-ing on Community Data Projects

Posted on 05-03-2019

We know that Central Texas nonprofits have big challenges to tackle. We also know that there are people in our Central Texas community that have the skills our organizations need to solve those problems. The CONNECT program was launched to provide a platform to bring these two groups together. We believe that complex community challenges can be solved by connecting organizations working toward social good with the next generation of nonprofit and public sector leaders. Here’s why CONNECT is valuable:  

  • At the individual level, it allows for a unique opportunity to harness the power of talented graduate students to have practical experiences in the community, cultivating a desire to continue to serve in the social sector either by profession or other types of service (e.g. board membership) after graduation.   
  • At the organizational level, CONNECT will enable greater data expertise and capacity inside and among nonprofits.   
  •  And at the community level, it has the potential to inform new insights into measuring social impact, as well as drive behavior change toward data-driven decision making.   

So how does it work? CONNECT matches organizations that have a data, measurement or evaluation-related project with graduate students looking for applied and practical experience in the social and/or public sector. This is all done through a five-step process: 

Step 1: An organization completes a brief online form to describe their data challenge. 

Step 2: The CONNECT team evaluates key components of the project and matches the organization with a graduate student with similar interests and experience. 

Step 3: Once matches are determined, the organization receives information on the student match. 

Step 4:  If accepted, project deliverables and milestones are discussed in a kick-off meeting. 

Step 5: The CONNECT team monitors the student’s progress with the organization for the duration of the project.  

The first project cohort is already underway! Click here to view a project example from the current cohort.  All projects for the upcoming 2019 Summer cohort have already been matched, but opportunities are still open for Fall 2019Spring 2020 and Summer 2020.  

For more information click here to view FAQs or reach out directly to alyssa.studer@austin.utexas.edu.