The Collective Impact #ToolBox is a series of blogs featuring simple, practical tools that members of cross-sector partnerships can use to support their day to day work.
Using data to track progress toward your shared result and understand what is working, what isn’t and why sounds great – until you sit down and try to figure out how to do it. It can quickly become overwhelming and even paralyzing when you look around and realize data comes from a host of sources in a range of different formats, along a spectrum from shared to protected, public and private, etc. Where do you even start?
JaNay Queen helped dozens of partnerships to work through these issues as a consultant before she joined Living Cities and began working with our site partners. She recently published a Data Inventory spreadsheet that both her clients and our site partners have found useful for mapping what data they have, what data is currently available, and what data they might aspire to collect. Organizing the information this way helps channel all of the problems and opportunities into a manageable data development plan over time. It also takes the pressure off to get everything perfect at the beginning.
Getting and using data in your decision-making process is a complex but vital part of working with your partners differently. The Data Inventory tool has been field tested and proven useful, but it is just the beginning. If using data is something you are wrestling with, we encourage you to also explore our additional resources, and sign up for updates as we release new tools on using data in collect impact.