Using Data for Action and for Impact

Interesting article on being a data-driven organization in the social justice / non-profit space from the Stanford Social Innovation Review:

http://ssir.org/articles/entry/using_data_for_action_and_for_impact

There is a growing urgency in the social sector to make better use of data to inform decision-making and evaluate performance, but many organizations struggle to do this. This article provides a framework to help nonprofits and social businesses do better. …

The goal of this article is to demystify the data explosion and to provide practical advice to nonprofit and social business leaders for harnessing these trends in two important ways. As a sector, we need to use data to respond to today’s needs, to manage our teams better, and to improve our efficiency. This is what I call “data for action.” At the same time, and I hope with much of the same data, the social sector needs to use data to establish that our interventions lead to lasting change. This is the Holy Grail for donors, policymakers, and social sector leaders. This is what I call “data for impact.” …

Becoming a data-driven organization, however, is not simply a technical challenge. It requires some wrenching adjustments to organizational culture, both for nonprofits and social businesses and for donors, government agencies, and impact investors. And the objective of better outcomes through data requires confronting failure in its most positive aspect: learning what does and does not work.

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Related to this, a friend told me about an organization with resources, webinars and training workshops on data analysis that might be of interest:

http://dataanalystsforsocialgood.com/