Our Community’s Innovation Lab has taken out top honours in its category in the Connecting Up Australian Not-for-Profit Technology Awards for its work helping organisations to become more data-driven.
The annual award for “Technology for Community Impact – Best Private Sector Organisation” recognises a business that has made a valuable contribution to the not-for-profit sector and the broader community through the use of technology.
The Innovation Lab’s work includes running data science tutorials and events, producing free online resources, and conducting collaborative research projects with not-for-profits such as Berry Street Victoria and TaskForce Community Agency.
“At Our Community we aim to build on our own work building tech tools and becoming more data-driven by sharing that knowledge widely and helping boost the data capabilities of not-for-profit organisations,” said the director of data intelligence at Our Community, Sarah Barker.
“Our Community, supported by Equity Trustees, really understands the need to help Australia’s social sector become more data-driven. We are gradually getting the word out that resources and help are available – this award will help us build more awareness and interest in what we have to offer.”
Since 2019 the Innovation Lab has hosted Melbourne's first Datathon for Social Good (in partnership with Community Hubs Australia) and published a number of free resources including Developing Data Capability in your Not-For-Profit and Data Projects from Go to Whoa!
“Our Community hired its first data scientist in 2016 and since then we’ve been building up our own data capability,” Ms Barker said. “We’ve trialled and refined various methods of working with social sector data and building capacity – through tutorials, events, projects, hacks, resources, advice, partnerships and standards.
“The response has been really positive, with many organisations allowing us to track their projects. That way we can draw out valuable lessons to share with other organisations.”
The Connecting Up awards were announced on 6 November 2020 in a variety of categories, including Technology Volunteer of the Year and Best Social Media Campaign. Other notable winners included homelessness organisation Orange Sky and online ticket sales platform Humanitix.
The Innovation Lab is supported by the Equity Trustees Sector Capacity Building Fund.