CoolData blog

7 October 2010

Toronto, here we come!

Filed under: Peter Wylie, Training / Professional Development — Tags: , — kevinmacdonell @ 6:52 am

In just a few days I’ll be in Toronto for APRA Canada’s second national conference (13-15 Oct), where I’ll be co-leading a half-day workshop on data mining with Peter Wylie.

“APRA” stands for the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement, so we’ll be addressing to prospect researchers working primarily in Major Gifts for universities, hospitals, arts organizations and other non-profits from sea to shining sea.

Prospect researchers are nice people. And Canadians are nice people, too. But we know our audience wants us to deliver the goods: “Give us something we can use!”

So we’re giving it a shot: Three hours of working with real data, building real models, in real time. Peter and I have been working with two institutions over the summer — the University of Manitoba, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. They have provided us with anonymized data, including as many potential predictor variables as they could easily obtain, and we’re going to provide them with customized score sets that they can use in their fundraising programs.

What those looking on should gain is a real sense of what data mining “looks like.” The live demonstration will be software-specific (we will be using Data Desk), but the essentials are perfectly applicable to one’s software of choice.

Ideally, we’d have everyone sitting at a computer going through the steps with us, but that’s not possible. The central idea is to get one step beyond simply talking about data mining and predictive modeling, and actually demonstrate it in a visual, physical way.

We welcome you to join us, and if you happen to see either of us between sessions, by all means introduce yourself and ask questions!



  1. I hope you are taping this? It would be helpful for us APRA members who couldn’t make this session.


    Comment by artem1s — 8 October 2010 @ 8:51 am

    • I’m not sure if the conference organizers have made arrangements to record sessions or not. I agree, it would be great to have. In the case of this workshop, video would be preferable.

      Comment by kevinmacdonell — 8 October 2010 @ 8:56 am

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