Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

What’s Wrong With Nonprofit Data with Meena Das

June 08, 2022 Julia Campbell Season 1 Episode 40
Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
What’s Wrong With Nonprofit Data with Meena Das
Show Notes Transcript

This episode is sponsored by my wonderful friends at Qgiv! I'll be holding a free webinar with them on July 21 - to go https://www.bit.ly/qgivandjulia and register for free! See you there!
 
The data we have is flawed. My guest this week, Meenakshi ‘Meena’ Das, writes: “For far too long, we have ignored collecting critical data points, missed creating healthy dialogues around that data, and we have added our biases to all of it — all of it — to perform research operations and take crucial decisions from it.”

What is "good data" and how can we collect it? How can we build inclusive and equitable research and analysis into our programs - to help accomplish our missions and to become more financially sustainable?

Meenakshi (Meena) Das (she/her/hers) is Founder & Philanthropy Analytics Consultant at NamasteData. 

She specializes in designing survey-based research tools and analyzing engagement to help organizations find the strategic value of their data. Meena spends her time outside work as a mentor to immigrants and as pro bono research advisor to small shops.

Her two recent favorite projects are working on making data-based research tools more DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility) compliant and designing the second season of her podcast “Being and Unbeing an Immigrant” where she wants to bring together the families of immigrants left behind in the home country. 

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Newsletter for changemakers of the nonprofit industry to learn & share about equity-led data, research, & analytics
  • What “inclusive and equitable research and analytics” means and has to do with nonprofit leaders
  • What kind of data should we be collecting and how can this make us better fundraisers
  • Making data-based research tools more grounded in DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility)

Connect with Meena Das:

About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, as a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second book, How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements. Julia’s online courses, webinars, and talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and raise more money online.

Take Julia’s free nonprofit masterclass, ​3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts<

Julia Campbell:

Hi there, I want to invite you to a super special free live training that I am giving with my friends at Q give on Thursday, July 21. All about creating a future proof nonprofit social media strategy. You can register right now for free at www dot bit bi T dot L y forward slash que give and Giulia once again www.bit.li. Forward slash que give Qg I V. And Julia, you don't want to miss this free webinar. You can also go to the show notes of this episode and click the link to register. You're going to learn all about how to navigate upcoming digital changes, the four pillars of social media management, actionable ways to engage your community, and more. See you on July 21. Hello, and welcome to nonprofit Nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. And I'm going to sit down with nonprofit industry experts, fundraisers, marketers, and everyone in between to get real and discuss what it takes to build that movement that you've been dreaming of. I created the nonprofit nation podcast to share practical wisdom and strategies to help you confidently Find Your Voice. Definitively grow your audience and effectively build your movement. If you're a nonprofit newbie, or an experienced professional, who's looking to get more visibility, reach more people and create even more impact, then you're in the right place. Let's get started. Hello, hello, everyone. And welcome back to the nonprofit nation podcast really thrilled and excited to have you. With me today and my guest. I am thrilled to have Mina das on the podcast today. Mina is the founder and philanthropy analytics consultant at namaste data. And she specializes in designing survey based research tools and analyzing engagement to help organizations find the strategic value of their data, which is so important. Mina spends her time outside work as a mentor to immigrants and as a pro bono research advisor to small shops. Her two recent favorite projects are working on making database research tools, more dia compliant, that's diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. And designing the second season of her podcast being an and being an immigrant, where she wants to bring together the families of immigrants left behind in the home country. So Mina, welcome, we finally made this work.

Meena Das:

Thank you so much. Oh, yeah, for having pleasure to be here. I told us before we started recording, I finally stalk you on LinkedIn. And so I know how amazing this podcast is. It's nice to be finally doing it. Thanks for having me.

Julia Campbell:

Thank you so much for those kind words. I'm really excited to dive into good data, how we collected and then how we can build inclusive and equitable research and analysis into our programs. And I know that's something you specialize in. So first, let's begin with your story and how you got involved with the work that you're currently doing.

Meena Das:

Awesome, because that's the part I let low most talking about.

Julia Campbell:

My story storytelling is so important. I know.

Meena Das:

Right? So I am a first generation immigrant here in North America. And born grown up I have a I had a wonderful childhood in India. I grew up there. That's where I was introduced to the idea of philanthropy. I suppose I was 2021. Right after my first master's, when I started to, you know, along with my tech job, I also had my own school for sexual assault victims and externals and I realized that, Oh, I like doing this work of helping someone else find meaning probably, but what I did not know was how do you fund projects because all I was doing was, you know, getting my pay hand carrying it to get the school supplies and making sure people join the school and you know, stick with the program building the program. So it was a one person show and I was doing it I realized I don't have enough funding to keep it running. And I realized I want to get more education, get more experience and bring it back to my school. And I moved to the US about six years ago to get more education that means another Master's in specializing in analytics and information systems. I'm there I moved to Seattle about me and after after graduation Started working still in tech, still not in nonprofit yet. And I was three months into that job, I met an accident, lost my teeth. And I couldn't speak for almost three months, it was a little bit of a whole, you know, a little bit of a legal battle that I couldn't find lawyers. And that's the point I realized that it's so hard to be a first gen immigrant or an immigrant in a new country, when you don't know the legal system, when you don't understand the healthcare system. And you just have to, you know, go through tons of emails and talk through wait on tons of phone calls. And I realized after I was able to speak, that I want to give my weekends on volunteering for immigrant advocates, issues. And since then, it's been about four years, I have been doing that over my weekends. And after starting that work, about four years ago, I left my tech job, I moved out of that industry, I was doing some contracting and found a job with a nonprofit consulting firm, I was started to work with them, it took about four or five amazing years, great organization to work with them. And I realized that, okay, while I'm in this industry, I am starting to look at this data because I was an analyst and looking at this data from different angles. And I see that the data is not telling the kind of story I want to hear. I don't come up on that Excel spreadsheets. I don't research for people who look like me who talk like me, though, I understand the definition of philanthropy is broader than just making sure that you have six digit gifts. So why is it not showing up in the stories and that's not a to bother me. And I moved out of my jobs, just getting you know, on this solo independent consulting in about seven, eight months. So far, it's been fantastic journey of exploration, asking questions, struggles. So although I say I'm a founder in a in a nonprofit, philanthropic analytics consultant, but I do say, you know, titles don't matter. What I do is I struggle with data and question. That's kind of my story.

Julia Campbell:

And you spent a lot of time volunteering.

Meena Das:

I do. I do. I do. I was I was just talking to you right before we got on recording this podcast. When I was growing up in India, I had this little bit of a habit to build, to learn about this data stuff from sources that are not related to data. So I used to sit in like minor classes for journalism, or marketing, or play different places where I could pick some tangential skills. And the way if I need to apply those because I wasn't a student of those hassles was I used to take random buses in the city. India has a big population, lots of people, lots of buses, I used to take random buses. When I was coming back from the school, I would sit on the buses talk to different strangers, and you won't believe how many good questions good answers I got here. And as in, had amazing conversations with people knowing that maybe I'm not going to meet them again. But I have like these amazing conversations. And that I think helped me in taking into perspective, all that I was experiencing back there in the country. And here. Now that I'm living here,

Julia Campbell:

that is an amazing story. I love that you are looking at data through this lens of it's not just numbers on a spreadsheet, there are stories behind the data that we collect. And the data also tells a story. So we'll definitely dive more into that. I want to talk about your LinkedIn newsletter, which I subscribe to is called Data uncollected. And it's a newsletter designed to enable nonprofits to listen, think, reflect and talk about data we missed and are yet to collect. So tell me who should be reading this newsletter and how you came to create it.

Meena Das:

Oh, you know, Julie, I have to say first thing, thanks for subscribing to the newsletter. I don't hear that too often, you know, that extra two new filters. So that's really nice to hear. So thank you. But to your question. I think you know, and you are you are a consultant to you make some amazing podcasts. I think we too often hear anything that we are creating in terms of new content. How is the audience we get that question a lot, we had a we have to think about him. And when I was creating this newsletter, which is about early January, so it's been 1112 weeks so far. I was starting to think to like who am I sending out this newsletter to who should be my audience? And I struggled with that question a little bit like, is it just the nonprofit industry? Is it just a fundraising people is it beyond the fundraising people because you know, it's a LinkedIn newsletter and I have connections even from the tech or other industry. reads it's not just nonprofit. And I think I'm coming to a place where my answer to that question of who should be reading that newsletter is anyone who has a relationship with data. Now I am working in the nonprofit industry. So I'm I'm more focused towards the people who are in this industry. But that means I feel like everybody, all of us have a relationship with the data. Some of us consumers, some of us collected, some of us analyze it. But it's none of us here who can say that, okay, I haven't read a single line that says, okay, 45, random, 45 person, so and so one out of three magnanimous stats that we come across in our emails, and our other newsletters in our posts and our other avenues. So I'm coming to a place to realize that my audience is anybody who has some exposure to data, because what I'm talking about here is not any specific algorithm, or a data science technique, or an analytics project, how it can be executed anytime I want someday. But at this point, I really want to just talk about the raw data that feeds into those systems, that feeds into AI based products, and it comes with its own flaws. And I'm sure you're gonna, we're going to talk about some of those flaws. But

Julia Campbell:

I would love to

Meena Das:

the name data and collected came because we have been so focused on running our programs in a certain way that we have, let's say we collected a, b and c data points. And now we are feeding it into an algorithm. We forgot to collect point number D, a data point D. So that becomes a data and collected that becomes a point that we should have collected. And now the problem with the automated system system, it's going to create these algorithms will take your data point A, B and C, create some insights throw at you turn it into actions, and then you will come to a habit where you will think okay, I need to collect a better data points A, B, and C. So that algorithm can do a better job at it. So we are still forgetting to collect the data point D and was needed to make the bigger picture of the philanthropy that it is. So my aim is to uncover some of those data points that should be collected along the journey not be too algorithmic driven. And ensuring that we have is, you know, as bias free as possible. It's never going to be 100% by three that it's just in human nature, but as much as we can.

Julia Campbell:

So when I've been reading your work, the words inclusive and equitable research and analytics come up a lot. Do you feel like nonprofits really understand what that means? And can you talk about how you are enabling organizations and empowering them? With this research that is deeply grounded in the idea of inclusivity? For All?

Meena Das:

That's a good question. I would say, you know, we can do me a favor. We like as a nonprofit industry, we can do a better job in understanding of trying to explore the words inclusive and equitable research and analytics, we are not there yet, I feel like we we are doing our job, we are learning that we are not there yet. We have done the research for so long, in a certain way. And it just doesn't go about research. And I'm sure you have talked to other people to how, you know, some of these practices that we have currently, we have had that for really long time. But it was not until the pandemic hit. It was not until there was this awakening of social justice, the need for social justice that we realized that we need to change things as they are, are not working out. And I am taking that idea and translating it for analytics and research, which is my love for we're in the work. So I'm realizing that not every nonprofit is in that space to understand what it means for inclusion and equity in research and analytics. But at the same time, when for your second part of the question, how I'm empowering them is starting to see with some ideas, I have done some work in the space of saying how it becomes inclusive, how it becomes equitable, but and I never claim that I'm one of the experts in this I start with a place of vulnerability I start with a place of struggle I share this that I am exploiting, I am struggling, I am learning. And that's where from this live ideas are coming. So I'm trying to I'm trying to make the nonprofit's think about these words and explore in their head. What does it mean for their own data because it's not going to come out like as a cheat sheet of point A to E and you do the steps and then that becomes inclusive. So what does it mean for you? So I'm helping. I guess I'm helping them with their self reflection. aren't right now, while I implement some of the ideas I have, he can inclusion and equitable in the analysis I get to do for the nonprofit. I love

Julia Campbell:

that. And I agree that this work is not something you can just check off the to do list, you know, dei work should be also baked into everything that we're doing. And I believe or I think, and I've seen a lot of nonprofits, unfortunately, just kind of put it to the side and think it's its own kind of work. And that it doesn't affect things like fundraising and data collection and marketing, but it absolutely does. And the work is never done. And I love that you come at it from a place of vulnerability, and a place where you're saying, I'm not perfect. And I'm still learning. And as long as we are just examining this and looking at it coming at it from with the right intention, then things can only move forward. So I appreciate that. And my other question is, you know, a lot of my audience, they are fundraisers or they're responsible for raising money raising awareness. So what kind of data should we be collecting? What kind of data should we be collecting? And how can it make us better at our work?

Meena Das:

That's another great question. I know I saw this in one of the prep documents, you send it to me for this podcast. I don't think I have an answer when I was while I was reading it. But I would say, when I think of the data points that should have been collected, well, we, let's let's take a step back. So when you say that you have this audience who are supposed to be raising awareness and raising money, you know, most of our fundraising friends, they are collecting, they do have good data. So when I say that we don't have some, we have some biases in the data, we have some flaws in the data, I don't mean to say that everything we have is bad data, we do have good data, we have enough so that we are taking, you know what we call quote unquote, strategic decisions out of it, we have enough of that what is missing in those data points is that I would say, feeling of affinity feeling of flow, understanding a person beyond their capacity. So just giving you an example. I wasn't here a lot, I guess almost a lot of my hours were the weekends, I think I have been giving it for almost like last three years. I'm not a millionaire. But I hope I hope I become one. So I can may not make bigger gifts to my organization. But I do make philanthropic gifts, smaller 100 $250, just making a point here to give that number. And when it comes to some of the nonprofits I'm attached to, I'm giving one particular example where they had in their newsletter, we had mentioned some of the programs, and I was interested in one of them. And I reached out to one of the fundraisers to ask, okay, hey, what is this program entail? What would you need? And I was asking these questions out of curiosity, maybe as a volunteer, maybe it's someone who wanted to make a gift, I want some level. And all that person could respond back was, you know, it's not in your capacity, I don't think you are the right fit for this program. I don't think you will be if we able to afford and this is this was her son, and I don't think you will be able to afford this program, making a gift in this program. And I was deeply hurt by that statement. By that, you know, I don't know, if I had gross assumption of some sorts. I was only asking for questions. But my point is that assumptions like these, they hurt people. The data that we are dealing with is about people, there are people outside, who really care about your mission, there are people outside who want to make the best of what they have, and share it with you to make, you know, to make your mission more successful. And so we can do a better job of capturing the data points about the interests and affinity and the love and understanding people beyond just the capacity numbers. The more the data points we have of those kind of that kind, the more you will be really able to remember and I hope so that philanthropy is more than the dollars only.

Julia Campbell:

Yes. And I've had clear actual read on the podcast. And she talks a lot about that how philanthropy is more than just fundraising and she wants to take the word fund out of fundraising, because she thinks that focuses too much on actual dollars raised and not on the relationships that are being built and the communities that are being changed the problems that are being addressed. So I agree with that.

Meena Das:

And if I could add Julia there 111 More point. It's not just about the data that recollect about are, you know, seeing the same like, we're how you talked about the DI stuff that has to be ingrained in every aspect of the shop. It's not just about, okay, just fundraising, just a donor communication, it's about it has to be part of everything, it's not a independent entity, it's the same little bit Same with the data points that we want to collect. It's not just about the data points that we need to collect about our donors, our volunteers are the people who are engaging with our mission, we have to keep that lens of inclusion in everything where I'm going to restrict myself to talk about research analytics, and everything where data is involved. So giving you an another example is, how do you measure the success of a fundraiser? It's not cannot be just about how many dollars that person raised? That's going to create, you know, imbalance in generally mental health, obviously, and of course, I'm unclear expectations that would obviously lead back to only collecting data points more around capacity more around, okay, who are the biggest foundation because charities because donors in the city, in the local area, so I feel like to really, you know, capture these and collected data points we have to look at from different lens. So you have to just not look at from, okay, what are we collecting for the donors, we have to look at also from how are you measuring success? How are you measuring the growth of your employees of your staff members? So it relates back to really looking at what we said that the data is about people, the actions from it also should reflect that the data is about people. It's not just about the money.

Julia Campbell:

Absolutely. And we need to center community in the data and research and I know you wrote a blog post about this. So what are some ways that we can center community? Then also, what does that mean? And then how can we do our best to include and center community in our data and research?

Meena Das:

Well, heresay, definitely read the blog post.

Julia Campbell:

Right, I will link to it in the show notes.

Meena Das:

Oh, yeah. Thank you. Thanks for doing that. You know, when I was writing that article, and still I think I wrote that about a month or two low. Still, I feel like we can do a better job at centering community. And then I use those words, what I mean is a lot of the analysis that I have been a prospect researcher, I have been a manager of perfect researchers, a lot of the work that went into my work was focused around campaigns were focused around donors, and it's not in a bad way. I mean, you know, we have short stubby or short staffed is nonprofits, we have lack of resources, we are have these tools, we have these priorities, like like I said, if we have to think about data collected, it has to come from all different angles. It's not just about what can prospect researcher do to collect more data, it's coming from different angles. So when I talked about centering community, what I am trying to say to the nonprofit world is, think about the people who are going to be impacted by your work and center, your analysis, whatever you are doing, whether it's engagement analysis, whether it's finding out who would be a better person for hosting the next events, it's not going to be just the people who are not the most connections in the city, but how can you center the people who are going to be impacted by your work and centered them? Because they are your why they are the reason you started to work this whatever you are doing, how can you center that in your nonprofits? And that is what I mean by centering community and the takes different shapes or forms? I? Honestly, I don't exactly remember all the points that I mentioned in my article, and thanks. Thanks to you

Julia Campbell:

that you're sure where can we start? Maybe just where where can we start? Yeah,

Meena Das:

I would say, you know, for a really tangible example would be you do surveys in your nonprofits, if you must, if you're not doing it, probably that's a different discussion, we should do a survey, like on a regular cadence. And if you are doing it, don't include just your top donors or donors above a certain level to your surveys. You can include your donors, your volunteers, you know, the people who have your mission in their meetup, groups, and dates, you can track those people. And you can have all of those in your database and send them out a survey to hear from them. So you are creating a space for all the people, all of them who are interested in your work, not just your top donors, and you can hear from them. And there are ways in the surveys that you can, you know, create logic you can create you can separate out the questions and then you can do some analysis from it. Obviously, I'm not turning this podcast into a session that we can Do those things to make sure that the insights that are coming out of the surveys are actionable for all different groups that are engaged in that survey. So that's really one simple, tangible way where you can bring all the people that are interested in your work and hear from them.

Julia Campbell:

You've written about Ukraine, which that blog post really resonated with me. You've written about artificial intelligence. And most recently, as the time of this recording, you wrote a pretty, I would say, scathing article about social media. Social media is what I teach what I talk about. And I'm always fascinated by this topic, because I do think there are so many problematic, we know, there are many problematic aspects to social media. So the blog post is about power, influence and data. And what I loved about it, is that you analyzed design barriers, you know, growing influence on philanthropy, and the nuances to remember when using it for analytics. So can you talk about your own sort of relationship with social media and how it affects your work? And how you kind of see it affecting nonprofits? You know, mission driven movements?

Meena Das:

That's a really, really great question. Yeah, I think I, you know, I, let me take a step back and share why I wanted to write about social media, you know, we've spent so much time on social media. And for me, it's LinkedIn and a little bit of the Facebook, I'm not so active on other platforms. And LinkedIn is almost like my another office space as an independent consultant, it's also my coffee place. So probably hanging out in that space most of the time. And I am seeing different kinds of interactions on that platform. And then that goes for me to let me start with the Mimi and then I'll talk about what I'm observing for other people. If I knew me, it's a little bit of a weird thing. You know, I mentioned at the start off this podcast, I am a first generation immigrant. That means I have personally and I follow several times I struggle, I don't know about other immigrants, I can speak for myself, I, I have felt a struggle to fit in a group versus stand out in a group, I have felt that struggle when I am in person with people here, right when I moved from India, and sometimes even now, it's not that long of time, I feel like that I'm totally understanding everything of this culture. So there's a little bit of a transition, growing up in a different country and understanding of different, you know, different languages and coming here, talking in a bit of an accent. And so I struggled with this idea of fitting in with a standing out, that became even more harder. When I had to show up myself on a virtual space, it's one thing to struggle with that idea when you are in person with someone in a room, you can struggle for certain times. And if you are not feeling comfortable, I can walk out of that room, you know, in a virtual space, when that's the place where my only way of me showing up is maybe it could be a video, but I'm more on the writing part of the things so I write how do I make sure that I'm, I'm fitting in this platform, and I'm also spending so my personal relationship with social that LinkedIn specifically, is more around now building relationships that are starting with a place of vulnerability vulnerability would that's where I feel most comfortable. And not starting out as someone saying, I'm an expert on this, I'm uh, you know, titles don't matter which I kind of repeatedly say, I share my space, we are not doing a video today. But if we would be you'd be thinking my background space, you'd be seeing a little bit of My Mercy here. I'm starting out from a play every conversation of where exactly I am, and not trying to change a pain. By that way. I'm honoring, I feel like I'm on the foundation with which I have been, I have grown up and from there and taking the conversation forward by understanding the other person taking that conversation forward. That's my relationship with minion to nonprofits. I'm realizing that there are several different ways that stands out in my group of connections. And I talked to the people, some of them have seen have taken it and like, you know, oh, this in this nonprofit got this big of a gift. I think I should do something like that. There are some good influences. There are some influences that are coming because of a social pressure that so and so I'm profits do something so great. I'm not doing something. I should do something like this. And so my position in that conversation quickly becomes like a friend. Oh, no, no, you know, don't take a pause. You don't have to do everything. Just have that nonprofit did. You are doing great stuff. Look at your own stuff and that kind of a conversation. So I'm from those simple Conversations, I'm realizing In that social media has a ton of power, it has huge power right now, especially right now when we spend so much time in front of the screens, and I wanted to analyze that power through different lens, like, you know, the barriers, and I talked about the barriers. And one, one of the barriers I mentioned was Facebook's controversial illegit name, and I added a link in my, in my Yep.

Julia Campbell:

Tell us more about that if people are not familiar with that,

Meena Das:

yes, of course. So a couple of years ago, Facebook, you had this is I think still have. So when you're creating your profile, you have to give your first name, last name, all those things, and the name has to be legit, they have some rules that make it like a rule based thing that you know, your name is legit, or now. Now the names that we see the the European names or the names here in North America, there are certain rules that you wouldn't have, say, some of those dash or an apostrophe, there's some things that are actually legit means there are certain indigenous names that are legit names that do not fall under the constraints and rules of these European names. And those names were instantly flagged as non digit names, they were flagged as okay, this is not a legit name, you have to change it, you have to make sure that you follow the rules. So there was a lot of protests around it, there was there was a lot of, I think, the different ways in which people kind of reacted to it. And somehow, that led them to change some of those rules. It's not so the perfect rules, I was just looking at it last night, and it's still there some still some difficult things to look at it, but it's getting better. That's one aspect that I want to talk about. The other aspect they wanted to talk about was these social movements that happen on Facebook and other platforms, those social movements have big degree of awareness, they build, they bring people together, they quit, they can quickly bring people together, like you know, unlike from a lighter share from a share those kinds of things. But what it does not provide those social movement builders is the ability to follow up on a one on one basis without making it super, I would say making keeping a welcoming, like a safe space when it comes to especially the racial and ethnic moments. So so I didn't want to go into too too deep, an example of rabbit hole for my newsletter. But there are some barriers for the social movement builders, when especially coming from different cultures, when they are trying to do it on the social media is after you have built this first layer of awareness, this first layer of everybody wants to get in on that thing. And then how do you make it meaningful? after something has happened? Like an event has happened? How do you keep it meaning meaningful enough? Those were some of the things that I wanted to explore in the article or, or the other thing I wanted to explore these days, these reels and short stories that

Julia Campbell:

Instagram offers the 10 Seconds or Less idea. And

Meena Das:

yeah, that's, that's so dangerous that so that we are already, you know, looking at our screen every day and feel like we are getting away from the human person to person conversation and making 10 Seconds or Less our attention span is so narrow, it's hard to fit in the bigger ideas, the context, the history into those 10. Second thing, it creates unnecessary pressure it creates people take, you know, they just take it away from the core idea. So I wanted to explore some of those things. And that's how they came up. I think I suppose that's a pretty long answer for your question.

Julia Campbell:

No, I, I appreciate it. This blog post is fantastic. And I'll link to this one as well. And you do tie it back to data. Because you say no, really, the data available from these platforms to gauge authentic engagement is limited. And I completely agree. And that's what a lot of my clients struggle with is, well, it was a like, or a comment or a share. What does it really mean? And can there be a line drawn to fundraising? Certainly, with different tools, you can draw lines, you can raise money, but that engagement, like you said, and what I love, also that you wrote was the quick 10 Seconds or Less idea. You know, social media has to be digestible. It has to be fun, and it's entertaining. Well, what if you're working on humanitarian crises? What if you're working on issues that are not digestible and fun? Like you said, you need that context history, you know, consciousness, you need more information that you can give in 10 seconds. So I think there are ways to do it, but I thought these were really interesting questions to raise that nonprofits struggle with but I don't think they really, they really raise them. They're just like you said, you said earlier, putting out fires and constantly on the hamster wheel of of trying to get their mission done or, you know, trying to keep the lights on. I actually want to end talking about your past. I'd cast, because, you know, it's not necessarily related to data. But I think it's really interesting. And people listening to this podcast are probably looking for new podcasts to listen to. So can you tell us about being an and being an immigrant?

Meena Das:

Yes, of course. And I think I didn't mention in my, in my introduction, I also have a Kindle ebook called some data posts, and both of them relate to so my podcast, and my work and the book, all of them, I think I'm at a place where I'm exploring the intersection of my individual identity, with data with things that are happening in the world right now. So the podcast was made early or mid 2020. You know, we were a couple of months into the pandemic, things were just the bad, you know, strange, we were always had, we didn't know what's going on. And so I needed something that was the first place where I needed something to explore my story. Now, I am a firm believer that our individual stories are powerful enough to hold answers to the questions we usually seek externally. So if I would look something in my own life, I would probably find look closely something I experienced at the age of 20, that would still be relevant. Now. I would find something when something happened when I was growing up. And you know, if I remember that, I would probably realize, okay, I have experienced this before, it's not a new ocean I'm experiencing. So I wanted to find a way to remember my own story. And I realized, okay, I would do a podcast. And, you know, I wanted to make it not like an entire big, big book kind of thing. So I made it into six episodes, or five minutes, each really digestible, kind of a format, like, I call them, I think I call them mini pods, you could just hear them when you are walking to your fridge, taking a snack and coming back, and you can have them. And the idea of those six episodes, or I think have six episodes or five minutes each, the idea of there was to explore some of the bigger themes that I experienced as a first generation immigrant. So for example, one of the episode was, how did I react when I first went to the Walmart, that was a that was a different experience, because, you know, I have never seen 100 different flavors of cheese. I knew cheese by one brand, which is a mole, I knew that this was one day and I, I knew that pasta cheese, I went to this big store having like three different types of onions at the start, and two different types of tomatoes. And then, you know, tons of types of milk. And I remember my first time in Walmart was not kind of like, oh, wow, there's so many I was overwhelmed. I tried it right, I thought I'm never going to be able to eat something in this country, because I'll never be able to decide what I want to get what I should get. Everything has a, you know, this is 2% ML, this is 5%. This is benefits of that, and they're lacking

Julia Campbell:

here. And then there's oat milk, almond milk. Oh,

Meena Das:

don't get me started. Yeah, it was overwhelming for someone who never had that much choice in these consumer products. And so I wanted to explore a little bit of that idea in one of the episodes. And then in one of the other episodes, I wanted to talk about how I feel my relationship is to a geographic place. So I have been moving so much in my entire life. Even when I was in India, we are still move every two years, my dad had a job where, you know, we had to move every two years. So I wouldn't say I am new the idea of taking my life and starting somewhere new that it was a different experience when I moved from India to the US and US to be Canada. And I have been in these groups and conversations where people talk about oh, you know, that showed you remember that we weren't used to watch in high school. And you know, do you remember that store that was there on Fifth and Sixth Street and you know, things that they knew about that place that I didn't know about? And it wasn't like one conversation? So I started to explore, Where do I belong? Like in terms of place, I have these number of places on my passport number of places in my story, but where do I belong? And I don't have a perfect answer I didn't have when I was making the podcast. I don't have it now. But I'm starting to realize that my relationship is not to one geography place. It's not to one city. I think I've I belong more a little bit to that tree on the corner of the street. I didn't get up to that dirty wall that was behind the bus stop and I used to get down in Seattle. It's a little bit in the dumpling shop that I have my account next to my home. There. Those are the pieces where I belong. And that's what I'm exploring in that podcast. So the podcast is a lot about my journey, and anyone who is exploring some of these things as well,

Julia Campbell:

I can't wait to check it out. I love that it's a diary of sorts. It's like a journal, but it's an audio journal so that you, you will remember this. And you can pass it down to future generations. And it's something that you'll always look back on and reflect on. I never thought about using podcasting as like a diary or a journal. But that's, you've got my wheels spinning. That's something that I think is very, very interesting. So, Mina, where can people connect with you and learn more about you? What's your you said, you're on LinkedIn?

Meena Das:

I am. But I want to make sure that Julia, you wouldn't be adding my LinkedIn profile, right? Because there is one more Mina and people do get confused with me and the other meeting.

Julia Campbell:

Yes, I will be adding the correct one. And I will add a link to your podcast, and your ebook as well

Meena Das:

as them and my LinkedIn profile has the links to all the other things, my newsletter, my website and the Master data.org. And I'm pretty available on all the usual places LinkedIn email website.

Julia Campbell:

Well, thank you, again, for being here and sharing all of your insights. And I'm sure that we'll talk again soon.

Meena Das:

Looking forward to it. Thank you so much for having me, Julia.

Julia Campbell:

Well, hey there. I wanted to say thank you for tuning into my show, and for listening all the way to the end. If you really enjoyed today's conversation, make sure to subscribe to the show and your favorite podcast app, and you'll get new episodes downloaded as soon as they come out. I would love if you left me a rating or review because this tells other people that my podcast is worth listening to. And then me and my guests can reach even more earbuds and create even more impact. So that's pretty much it. I'll be back soon with a brand new episode. But until then, you can find me on Instagram at Julia Campbell seven seven. Keep changing the world. Nonprofit unicorn