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Fulton heard from his students that Alteryx data analytics software is easy to learn, with its no-code, code-friendly platform, making it possible to quickly harness the power of data insights. As a result, he moved his entire project onto the Alteryx platform. This pivot contributed to pushing Fulton and his team of Indiana University students to the top of the excellence award competition.
They earned recognition in the ‘Impactor’ category as the best example of using data for good by developing a comprehensive workflow to automate data extraction, cleansing, and matching from multiple sources.
Vast volumes of unstructured data often inhibit researchers and practitioners from conducting field-level studies of philanthropic activity. Fulton and his team of students from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, including recent graduates Jessi Arthur, David Ross, and Hannah Corso, increased usable data by more than 200 percent, improved data processing speed 16-fold, and optimized match rates. The result is a first-of-its-kind network dataset that links U.S. foundation and grantee data spanning the past 10 years.
“Given that we were competing with Fortune 500 companies for this award, I’m impressed that our team could distinguish itself in providing a high-quality, innovative, and impactful use case,” said Fulton. “I work with a lot of data scientists from around the world and the Luddy students are among the best. It’s great that our efforts to use big data for the greater good received this recognition in a very competitive field.”
By constructing a funder-grantee network of more than one million nonprofit organizations, the project will enable researchers, foundation leaders, and nonprofit professionals to better understand the scope and scale of charitable activity, track the sources and distribution of funding, and reveal how philanthropy both redistributes resources and reproduces inequality.
“I plan to use these data to collaborate with researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who are interested in conducting field-level analyses of the entire nonprofit sector or any of its subsectors such as the arts, education, and healthcare,” Fulton said.
Fulton is also in the process of seeking additional funding so that he can make the data and platform publicly available in a plug-and-play format.
“The ability to transform complex raw data into business insights is critical to remain competitive in the current business landscape,” said Matthew Stauble, chief customer officer at Alteryx.
“The 2022 Customer Award Winners are shining examples of what businesses [and education] can achieve by coupling a culture of analytics that focuses on upskilling employees with the right analytics tools. We are thrilled to recognize their achievements and look forward to seeing how they continue to evolve their programs in the coming year.”