The Value of Data
Data is often times overlooked as a powerful tool in grant writing and fund development overall. But it has its pros and cons. Consider the following:
Data may have the power to transform, but in a follow-up to a post on the Markets for Good blog he penned about the death of evaluation, Andrew Means, associate director of the Center for Data Science & Public Policy at the University of Chicago, suggests that nonprofits still have a long way to go in learning how to use it to improve their effectiveness and impact. This is a case of knowing when and how to use the data.
Can data sometimes do more harm than good? Absolutely, says Robert J. Moore, chief executive of RJMetrics, on the New York Times' You're the Boss blog. In particular, writes Moore, there are three situations in which he has learned to second-guess the data-driven approach: when the costs are too high; when the results won't change your mind; and when following the data means betraying your vision.
Foundation Center Resources on Data
Consider the following resources as you examine the role of data in your work:
On August 28, we will be offering Census Data and Data Tools for Grantseekers by Timothy Sarko, U.S. Census Bureau.
Also through IssueLab, the Foundation Center is working to more effectively gather, index, and share the collective intelligence of the social sector. IssueLab provides free access to thousands of case studies, evaluations, white papers, and issue briefs addressing some of the world's most pressing social problems.
Jeff Edmondson, managing director of the Strive Network, Ben Hecht, president/CEO of Living Cities, and Willa Seldon, a partner with the Bridgespan Group, weigh in with a nice Huffington Post piece on the transformative power of data.
The roundup of articles on data comes from our great site Philanthropy News Digest.
As always… knowledge, innovation, impact!
John Patrick Bailey, Ph.D.