Donation Portfolio Dashboard

The Donation Dashboard is a project run by the Berkeley Center for New Media at that uses a dashboard approach to help users choose charitable giving opportunities. Did you know that, in the Unitied States, there are over a million registered non-profit organizations? This dashboard helps you select the right mix of charitable organizations to donate to.

Through a series of “rate this donation” type of questions, the site builds a donation portfolio for you. Instead of a long form, it uses a simple “slider bar” that you click on to indicate your interest. This works well from a design sense, because it allows for extensive information about each charity to be shown.

The underlying technology for this dashboard is interesting. It uses personalization and collaborative filtering techniques. According to the site,

Giving is getting easier with an experimental website called “Donation Dashboard,” which uses machine learning techniques to recommend a customized portfolio of good causes based on your personal ratings of sample non-profit organizations.

Here’s how it works: you are presented with brief descriptions of non- profit institutions and asked to rate each in terms of how interested you are in donating to it. The system analyzes your ratings in light of others’ ratings and does its best to allocate your available funds in proportion to your interests. Your customized “donation portfolio” is presented in an easy-to-understand pie chart that you can save at the site for future reference.

Donation Dashboard, which is being developed by the Berkeley Center for New Media, extends machine learning techniques used by commercial websites to recommend movies, music, and books.
Donation Dashboard goes beyond existing charity ranking sites by statistically combining your ratings with the ratings entered by your fellow good samaritans to compute a porfolio customized to your interests.

The Donation Dashboard website is a pilot system that includes information on 70 non-profit institutions. If the system is successful, the developers hope to expand it with other features and partner with a third party that can streamline collecting and distributing funds.

“There’s strength in numbers; the system should improve over time as the number of ratings increases, in this sense each person who visits the site contributes to the collective wisdom about good causes,” notes UC Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg, who is developing the system with graduate students Tavi Nathanson and Ephrat Bitton at UC Berkeley, with conceptual input from Jim Buckmaster at craigslist.

Here is the dashboard. I quickly ran through the initial series of charities to arrive at this portfolio:

donation portfolio dashboard

Here’s a look at the dashboard screen for National Public Radio. Note the slider bar at the bottom. You click on it to give an indication of how interested you are in this particular organization.:

charitable giving dashboard

Give the dashboard a try and you’ll see how it refines your interests in the various organizations.


This is a post by The Dashboard Spy on Dashboards By Example. Visit the site for more dashboard examples.

Tags: Charitable donations dashboard