As technology has rapidly increased the ability to collect, store, and utilize data, the term “data-driven organization” has suddenly become a necessary priority. But what IS a data-driven organization and why does it matter? Does YOUR organization harness data to make decisions?
What is a Data-Driven Organization?
You might think that using data is reserved for the technology giants like Facebook and Twitter, but in reality, countless groups, including direct service providers, non-profits, and mission-focused organizations are taking advantage of this massive push towards collecting, storing, and using data. Moore (2010) nicely defines a data-driven organization as one that, “systematically uses data to inform and improve practice.” You can, and absolutely should, become a data-driven organization!
The Benefits of Being a Data-Driven Organization
- Why bother with data? Data creates objectivity and accountability, making you and your projects more effective. Passion fuels your activities, but using data allows you to take a step back and examine what works and what needs to change (Horling, 2018).
- Horling (2018) also points out that being “data driven” helps you make informed, accurate, and timely decisions.
- Likewise, being data-driven helps organizations adapt and change in the face of challenges and provides a foundation for identifying what services actually work (West, 2019).
Being Data-Driven During COVID-19
- As the world adjusts to the “new normal,” your nonprofit will benefit by taking steps to become a data-driven non-profit now. Data about COVID variants continues to evolve day-to-day and relies upon accurate data from all over the world (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021).
- COVID-19 realities offer real-world examples of making data-driven decisions, state-wide choices that likely affect your operations. In fact, U.S. states and countries across the world are functioning like data-driven organizations, constantly using COVID-19 and vaccination data to make decisions in an iterative fashion (Shirin, Ting Lin, & Sorrentino, 2021).
- Being a digitally mature and data driven organization has helped various non-profits succeed in their goals, such as fundraising, and corresponded with a higher confidence in engaging with audiences and volunteers through digital communication (Bierce, 2021).
Need Help with Your Data?
Becoming a data-driven organization can seem like a tall order and in many ways, it is. Proper planning from the start will make your journey much easier. Research Evaluation Consulting specializes in creating a data-driven plan that is suited to our client’s needs. We partner with our clients who bring their subject matter expertise and then we bring our experience in research and evaluation to help them measure impact. If you want more information or a 30-minute consultation, email us!
Bierce, K. (2021). The Rise of the Data-Driven Nonprofit. Techsoup. Link: https://blog.techsoup.org/posts/the-rise-of-the-data-driven-nonprofit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant.html
Horling, B. (2018). The Value of being a Data-driven Organization. EmtiroHealth. Link: https://emtirohealth.org/knowledge/2018/11/16/the-value-of-being-a-data-driven-organization
Moore, W. (2010). William Moore on Creating the Foundation for a Data-Driven Culture in Organizations. American Evaluation Association. Link: https://aea365.org/blog/william-moore-on-creating-the-foundation-for-a-data-driven-culture-in-organizations/
Shirin, A., Lin, Y.T. & Sorrentino, F. (2021). Data-driven optimized control of the COVID-19 epidemics. Nature: Scientific Reports, 11, 6525. Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-85496-9
West, A. (2019). Data-Driven Decision Making for Not-for-Profit Organizations. The CPA Journal. Link: https://www.cpajournal.com/2019/04/22/data-driven-decision-making-for-not-for-profit-organizations/.