How you think about data: Found this excellent (of course) post from NonprofitAF on the ways funders’ requirement for data adversely impacts communities that don’t have the resources to gather the data – which Vu calls the data paradox (you need data to get the funding to be able to get the data.)
“Data is pretty awesome. As a proud nerd, I love a good set of data and can spend endless hours looking at a sexy chart full of numbers. If data were turned into a syrup, I would put it on my soy ice cream all the time, because it is just so sweet. In the past few years, there has been more and more pressure on nonprofits being able to produce good data. Getting more and better information on practices and outcomes can only be good for our sector.
However, like fire or Jager Bombs, data can be used for good or for evil. When poorly thought out and executed, data can be used as a weapon to screw over many communities. Usually this is unintentional, but I’ve seen way too many instances of good intentions gone horribly awry where data is concerned…” – Vu Le, NonprofitAF
When everyone in your organization thinks like a data manager, though, you can not only easily put your hands on data that you already have, you can crowdsource ideas on data that you need but don’t have, and prioritize funding to get it. You can also activate all your staff to data evangelize your community and funders and back up your need to fund data collection.