Building a Data Team

This guide is for organizations looking to build their data science for social impact teams. Resources include hiring best practices, job description templates, websites, and sample applications for social impact organizations to share their open positions.

Guide Details

Last Updated On

January 11, 2022


Many social impact organizations, particularly nonprofits, are navigating their needs to provide resources around data analytics and data management. Building a data team can be a challenge for many social impact organizations; the focus on data for social impact is relatively new, and most of the training and online resources are geared toward private sector companies. Compounding these challenges, some leaders and managers in social impact organizations may feel ill-prepared to hire for these roles without strong technical backgrounds of their own. To help nonprofits start to build their data science capacities, we’ve put together resources and templates to start your journey.

In this Guide
  • Learn about data roles in social impact organizations and how to hire the right talent for your team.
  • Find job description templates to recruit data professionals.
  • Explore links to job boards to publicize and reach data talent.

Data Roles for Social Impact Organizations

One of the challenges in the data science for social impact sector is defining roles within organizations. For example, the “Data Scientist” role is as confusing as the term “generalist.” The Conway Venn diagram attempts to describe what data science and its related skills sets are. Confused? You should be! With years of use and abuse by both employers chasing job candidates and candidates chasing high salaries, the job role and responsibilities of a “Data Scientist” are becoming less defined. We’ve put together some resources to help your organization navigate recruiting for a data science role in your organization.

Data Professional Job Description Templates

Now that you are ready to start your search for a purpose-driven data professional to be a part of your team, here are some templates for your hiring managers or recruitment team to reference when writing job descriptions.

Nonprofit and Social Impact Job Boards

Your recruitment team is now ready to start the search for data talent. Posting on your website’s career section might not be visible enough to attract candidates. You may need to post these job descriptions on talent resources and recruitment sites to reach a broader pool of prospective candidates. Here are some of the recommended websites to share your data professional job posts. Note that some of these sites have associated costs for posting on their platforms. 

Fostering a Data-Driven Culture

While recruiting for a data team can be a monumental task, fostering a data-driven culture helps support the new data talent in an organization. Yet challenges may remain as a strong, data-driven culture remains elusive, and data is rarely the universal basis for decision-making. Here are some resources to drive an organization to be more data-driven.


The resources above will help you get started with building a data team in your organization. We also suggest reaching out to peer organizations, whose challenges and learning may provide direct and current examples of ways forward. Please feel free to suggest any other guides you found helpful by contacting us and we may incorporate them.

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