Original Proposal

Hi Eric,

Thank you again for taking the time to talk through our data project ideas with me yesterday! I appreciated your feedback and thank you for allowing us to submit three projects for your consideration. Please see below for the answers to each of the data grant questions. I hope you don't mind that I combined a few of the questions so that it would easier to explain the three projects. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks so much for your time and consideration!

With gratitude,

A brief statement of your organization’s mission, theory of change, and a link to your website.

At Reality Changers, we believe that college changes everything. We aim to transform lives by providing youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with the academic support, financial assistance, and leadership training to become college graduates. Our vision and ultimate goal is universal access to education, one community at a time.

Our theory of change is that if low-income, high-potential students are given the tools and support to envision a better future for themselves, then they will become more confident, capable, and motivated to apply, enroll, and succeed in college and career. Learn more at

A brief description of your data needs. Two or more data-oriented questions you’d like to answer. A description of how the project will impact your organization.

Over the last few years, we have made concerted efforts to collect more data on our students and to ensure that student records are complete. However, we have not had the capacity to consolidate it all and analyze the data beyond standard reporting needs.

Project 1: Challenge Assembly Data Analysis
Since 2011, Reality Changers has hosted “Challenge Assemblies” for local 8th graders with a 2.0 GPA or below. We pose to them a challenge: those who raise their grades the most over the next month would skip over our years-long waiting list and join the program. We identified these students because they were most likely to drop out of school, be suspended or expelled from school, or engage in criminal behavior without intervention.

We’ve been tracking Challenge Assembly student progress and have data for at least the last three years, but we have not had the capacity to go through and analyze the data for trends. We are seeking support in taking all of our data on roughly 150 students, consolidating it all, and analyzing it for trends based on GPA growth, family circumstances, geographic location, etc.

From this analysis, we would like answers to the following questions:
How can we change how we conduct Challenge Assemblies in order to have greater impact?
What kind of training do our staff need in order to better serve our 8th grade Challenge Assembly students?
What trends do we see in students who persist in our programs, graduate high school and go on to college vs. students who do not complete these steps?

This impact of this project would be profound. While all staff receive comprehensive training on mandated reporting, we all need more support with navigating the grey areas of trauma. This project would highlight the priorities areas our staff need to focus on in order to better engage and guide our students coming from the toughest circumstances. In addition, we would be able to use this analysis to communicate a more clear and powerful story to donors and funders about the importance of this work.

Project 2: College Choice Data Analysis
Our College Apps Academy program guides 12th graders through the entire college application process, from choosing the right college to getting accepted and becoming a successful college student. College Apps Academy serves over 400 students each year.

The Academy Instructors have meticulously tracked student data for the last 4-5 years, documenting their GPAs, SAT/ACT test scores, essays, as well as the colleges that each student applies, gets accepted to, and attends. While we know certain trends anecdotally from talking to students, we have not yet been able to do a thorough analysis of the data to understand on a greater scale if there are any trends that determine where students get accepted to and eventually enroll in. A deeper analysis of our data would allow us to better advise students through the college choice process and better prepare them for the transition from high school to college.

From this analysis, we would like answers to the following questions:
Does the student profile of a College Apps Academy/Reality Changers student accepted to certain colleges and universities differ from the general student profile accepted to those schools?
If so, do Reality Changers students have a higher or lower likelihood of being accepted?
Can this historical data show patterns that will allow us to advise our future students to apply to schools that their chances of being admitted are higher than published rates?

This project would have significant impact on how we guide and advise students on their path into and through college. We hope that the results of this project, combined with data collected from the National Student Clearinghouse, will enable us to provide more informed college choice recommendations to our 12th graders and targeted outreach to our alumni so that we can provide timely interventions when challenges arise.

Project 3: Donor segmentation
Over the last 18 years, our organization and programs have grown to serve more and more students each year, thanks to the generous support of our donors and community partners. As we prepare to take Reality Changers to the next level, we want to be able to send more targeted communications to our community. We would like to request support in analyzing and segmenting our donor lists and assign personas/constituent tags to each person (e.g. major donor, recurring donor, alumni, volunteer, parent, family foundation, corporate foundation, church, etc.). We are also interested in any common characteristics among each of these persona groups so we can conduct targeted outreach.

For this project, we would like to answer the following questions:
What are the commonalities among our donors?
Where do most of our donors come from?
At Reality Changers, major donors are donors who have capacity to give single gifts of $5,000 or more, or have given $5,000 or more in lifetime giving. How many major donors do we have, who are they, and what characteristics do they share?

This project would significantly improve our fundraising and communication efforts. It would help us get to know our donors better which would allow us to develop deeper relationships with each donor. We also hope that with the opportunity to create more targeted content, we will find that our communications will have higher open and engagement rates.

List what data you have available for the project. Such as donation records in Salesforce, extracts from the HMIS, public datasets, FOIA responses, or spreadsheets of results from client surveys.

For Projects 1 and 2, we have spreadsheets with the following:
Student Information (address, family makeup, household income, educational attainment of parents)
Student progress reports and report cards
Student test scores (SAT/ACT)
Anecdotal information on paper applications
Program attendance
College and scholarship applications
Colleges acceptances
College Choices

For Project 3, we have over 7,700 constituent records in eTapestry. For most of the constituents, we have names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, donation records, and notes on how they got connected with the organization.

Describe your internal data capacity. Is your staff skilled with Excel, Tableau, SQL, or other data tools?

Our staff are skilled in: Excel, Blackbaud eTapestry, Canvas, and SPSS

Jacqueline Guan
Advancement Coordinator
619-516-2222 |
3910 University Ave. Suite 300-RC, San Diego, CA 92105