Many of us, whether trained evaluators, researchers, program staff or volunteers, have never questioned how or why we collect (or perhaps fail to collect) demographic data. This type of data collection is often viewed as a rote task, a matter of tacking on a set of generic and seemingly “neutral” questions at the beginning or end of a survey.

But demographic data collection is so much more than that. These questions – and the answer choices provided – broadcast loud and clear a message about who your organization is and what it stands for. Our approaches to collecting demographic information can either unintentionally reinforce harmful stereotypes, or become another way in which we reflect and honor the true diversity of our communities, including those that have been historically excluded.

We believe demographic data collection is a simple yet powerful tool for pursuing equity and inclusion in our work. That is why we created More Than Numbers: A Guide Towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Data Collection: to ensure that organizations can collect demographic data they need to make informed decisions in a way that is respectful and inclusive.

Read the full article about demographic data collection by  Rella Kaplowitz and Jasmine Laroche at PEAK Grantmaking.