Could you use more help thinking through how to use data to help your organization make decisions? If so,you’re not alone."
In 2012, NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) released their report on the State of Nonprofit Data which offered an in-depth look at nonprofits and their relationships with data. The report’s findings identified that while “almost all nonprofits were collecting and tracking some type of metrics, ...only a small fraction were finding that data useful for making decisions that impacted their programmatic work.”
So to help nonprofits understand the “steps an organization has to take before collecting or analyzing the data” as well as how to “better wrangle all the data they’re creating”, NTEN has published a new workbook: Getting Started With Data-Driven Decision Making.
This free resource that NTEN created “with the financial support of Google and the research expertise of Idealware,” is designed to offer nonprofit leaders “a set of  worksheets that will help guide thinking and planning around more effective data strategies.”
As the “Welcome” section suggests, whether “you have a vague idea of what you’d like to measure,” or “you’re further down the path than that,” you can “pick and choose the worksheets that make sense for your needs.” It offers guidance in terms of developing a “process for creating and using your metrics or narrow down a list of metrics that will have the most impact.”
Whether “Data-driven” or “Data-informed” - it can help you get started
And while Beth Kanter (co-author of the book Measuring the Networked Nonprofit) admits to having “some issues with the approach of being “data-driven”, preferring the term “data-informed”, she suggests the workbook includes “some excellent flow charts for the sense-making piece of using data.”
If you’d like to check out this NTEN workbook, you can download it here:
Getting Started With Data-Driven Decision Making.