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Apr 5, 2018

Predictions are a Tricky Business

For all of us who are “March Madness” fans, this is a great article: https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/bracketiq/2018-04-03/ncaa-bracket-was-better-all-rest-2018

Given all the upsets in the first round of the tournament this year, some lucky ESPN entrant, “Che 3”, accurately guessed 80% of the games, including the finals matchup and the eventual winner, Villanova.

That’s impressive.

Until you realize that there were 17.3 million entrees into the ESPN contest. And the best one was only 80% right.

Predicting the future is a tricky business. Joshua Ramos wrote a fascinating novel on the topic called “The Age of the Unthinkable.” Basically, it’s a bunch of case studies on how bad we humans are at predicting the future. Even the really smart humans.

https://www.amazon.com/Unthinkable-First-Joshua-Cooper-Ramo/dp/1408700581/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1522851729&sr=1-2&keywords=the+age+of+the+unthinkable&dpID=415KoqBr8kL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Part of what we do at Analytical Ones is to forecast future revenue for nonprofit organizations. And we think we have a pretty good model. But it’s not a perfect model. There are no perfect models, as there are always variables that affect results that are impossible to predict. But we get way closer than 80% with a lot fewer than 17.3 million tries.

“GO BIG” ISN’T ALWAYS BEST

In 2013, we were chatting about how the technological movement known as “big data” was at its tipping point and it seemed that nothing was going to stop it. And… that was right. Nothing has stopped it. Since then, even large companies like ® are finding ways of using...

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Twenty Years of Knowing More

In September, Analytical Ones begins its 20th year providing fundraising analytics and donor behavior research for nonprofit organizations and their advertising agency partners. Over the past two decades, we have been fortunate to serve hundreds of clients. While many...

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