12/10/2012 03:10 pm ET

How Nonprofits Can Use Data To Solve The World's Problems

When Uzoamaka Nwankpa visits first-time mothers living in poverty in Tucson, Ariz., she’s more than just a nurse. She’s a therapist, helping a pregnant, recovering heroin user understand how her addiction traces back to her own childhood trauma. She’s a life coach, helping a mom with a two-month-old baby set goals to finish college.

But perhaps most surprisingly, she’s also a data collector, amassing thousands of points of information about the women and children she works with to not only help her clients, but to improve the effectiveness of the nonprofit organization she works with.