Giving Compass’ Take:
• Governments and universities have secure access for researchers to look at administrative data labs, and this data infrastructure should be expanded to nonprofits organizations as well.
• What can more access to data do for nonprofit organizations and leadership?
Although government has long collected administrative data, increasingly in digital form, government agencies have struggled to create the infrastructure and acquire the skills needed to make use of sensitive and personally identifiable information to improve governing.
Nonprofits represent more than five percent of GDP in the United States, and provide direct social services and assistance to millions of people, often with the support of government grants. If we do not make the same data infrastructure—including tools, governance mechanisms, and trained personnel—available to the social sector, it is as if we are building a road designed for trucks, but not cars.
New state-level data labs should retool—with philanthropic sector support—and enable US-based and other policy labs to offer their analytical services and data access to the social sector by adopting the JDL model. This offers numerous advantages:
- It keeps the personal data of individuals securely within the government department while organizations receive aggregated results in a public report, thereby protecting the privacy of individuals.
- It provides access to the trained personnel needed to conduct the evaluations without the charity having to hire those people directly.
- It offers an efficient system for generating standardized evaluations.
Read the full article on data-driven program evaluation by Tracey Gyateng and Beth Simone Novek at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Nonprofit Sector is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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