Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Telluride Foundation tried out a pilot program from the Data Culture Project to help the org and its nonprofit partners improve their data collecting practices. It was a success!
• Other orgs looking for better ways to crunch numbers might want to look at what The Telluride Foundation did and see if the Data Culture Project would be worth the time (it’s a free resource). Are you bringing enough science into your work?
• There are many benefits to good data harvesting. Just read this article from PEAK Grantmaking on how it leads to improved collaboration.
The Telluride Foundation is a philanthropic organization serving the Telluride community located amidst the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA. The foundation grants funds to local nonprofit organizations across health, arts, education, athletics, conservation and other sectors, and every year the Telluride Foundation collects outcome data from the nonprofits that convey the scope and effectiveness of their programs.
Data is central to the Telluride Foundation’s operations, as it allows them to evaluate the impact of their program spending and it helps the organization to convince donors and the larger public of its value and success. But even though everyone at the foundation is aware of the importance of data, only a few staff in leadership positions regularly access the data, and the nonprofit organizations the Telluride Foundation provides funding to don’t tend to have a lot of experience with data.
The Telluride Foundation’s Donor and Strategic Initiatives Director Erika Lapsys was inspired to test out the Data Culture Project’s slate of activities because she wanted the foundation and their nonprofit partners to cultivate a more scientific approach to data collection and to increase accountability and reliability of their data. As part of DCP’s pilot program, she gathered participants from the Telluride Foundation and their nonprofit partners for brown bag lunch workshops — held once a month for three months — where everyone would learn key concepts around data and practice them with fun activities.
Erika said that the DCP workshops were instrumental in revealing how simple data skills and techniques could be used directly in the nonprofit partners’ ongoing work.
Read the full article about the Telluride Foundation’s efforts with the Data Culture Project by Catherine D’Ignazio at Medium.
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