Santa Cruz, CA – Feb. 4, 2014 - Looker, a company with a next-generation approach to data discovery and business intelligence (BI), and DonorsChoose.org, an online charity helping students and teachers in need, today introduced the Giving Index, which reveals 2013 trends in educational needs and charitable giving across the country. Key findings include the prevalence of location-based giving, greater contributions to benefit younger students, and increasing emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) projects in higher grade levels.
The index was created through Looker’s powerful analysis of DonorsChoose.org data, which in 2013 alone includes nearly 340,000 donors, $60.2M in donations and over 130,000 school projects.
In addition to the index, DonorsChoose.org is opening up public access to 100 percent of their anonymized data through Looker. As part of the Hacking Education initiative, approved researchers, journalists, and citizens will be able to instantly access, explore, visualize and share insights on 20+ million records of DonorsChoose.org marketplace data, which will be combined with data on public education. Looker will allow anyone – not only the tech-savvy – an interactive way to generate education insights and learn about the current state of giving and need in U.S. schools.
“Exploring and analyzing our data through Looker has helped us develop strategies to increase charitable donations to schools. By identifying giving trends, we can better restructure and target our fundraising,” said Charles Best, CEO, DonorsChoose.org. “To date, DonorsChoose.org has helped more than 10 million students by channeling $220 million into classrooms across the country. The Giving Index and the public Hacking Education database project will empower Americans with data insights to help improve the education system in America.”
Specific trends identified by Looker and DonorsChoose.org in the Giving Index include:
On Campus: Donors Motivated by Neighbors in Need
According to the Giving Index, people are inclined to donate within the regions they live, as 50 percent of donors give within 25 miles of their zip codes. The market giving to education projects is hyper-local, likely because people care most about the schools their children attend.
- The Big Apple and Chicago show generosity to neighbors in need. Chicago ranks as the number one neediest city, but also as number three in terms of giving. Brooklyn and Manhattan are the top two most charitable urban centers, with Brooklyn and the Bronx among the Top 5 most in need (based on projects requested).
- Although not among the Top 5 most in need, San Francisco and Oklahoma City rank in the Top 5 in giving.
- Houston and Los Angeles could use additional support, as these two cities round out the Top 5 most in need, yet are not among the most giving.
Young Minds Drive Big Donations
Donors gave more money to lower grades, as compared with middle school and high school projects, according to the Giving Index. Specifically, the majority of donations were for pre-K to grade 2 ($20.6M), with grades 3 to 5 the second most funded ($17.6M). Grades 6 to 8 ($10.8M) and grades 9 to 12 ($11.4M) were the least funded grade levels.
Back to Basics: Fundamentals and STEM Trump the Arts
The Giving Index found that STEM and literacy projects made up the majority of donations requested and funded. The data also revealed that basic school supplies, including books, are in high demand, constituting 51 percent of all requested projects. Highlighting the lack of essentials to foster and improve reading ability, most requests were for literacy projects (55 percent), and classroom libraries were the most funded projects of 2013.
STEM Efforts Increase with Age
The analysis revealed that emphasis on STEM projects increased with grade levels. The majority of projects requested by pre-K through grade 5 fell under literacy, with math and science a far second. However, the priorities flipped in grades 6 to 12, with STEM projects forming the majority of requests, by subject, in the higher grades. Projects requested by subject in 2013 were:
- Pre-K – grade 2: 27,821 Literacy; 9,651 Math & Science
- Grades 3 – 5: 18,409 Literacy; 11,742 Math & Science
- Grades 6 – 8: 7,493 Literacy; 7,546 Math & Science
- Grades 9 – 12: 4,578 Literacy; 5,972 Math & Science
“Non-profits like DonorsChoose.org need insight to understand who and what drive the most donations, in order to maximize giving. Most philanthropic organizations can’t afford a full analytics team, but with Looker, they don’t need one,” said Frank Bien, Looker CEO. “Company-wide access to data allows everyone to make smarter and impactful business decisions. As a result of Looker’s ease-of-use, non-profits like DonorsChoose.org can leverage BI to optimize their fundraising. Also, by powering the DonorsChoose.org Hacking Education public data initiative, anyone can discover new insights into education needs and giving preferences. ”
Interested parties are encouraged to explore DonorsChoose.org’s public data through Looker. Request access at data.donorschoose.org.