Giving Compass' Take:

• More nonprofits are looking to remote data collection during COVID-19. Here are six myths debunked about remote data collection that can help organizations navigate the best strategies and practices moving forward.

• How can remote data collection help nonprofit organizations during this time? What support do they need from donors to successfully implement new strategies? 

• Read about why nonprofits should follow the data to address uncertainty during COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 crisis has affected nonprofit fieldwork, in some cases limiting it considerably. Because of this, many teams may have had to reconsider how to proceed with collecting data. In this piece, we take a close look at remote data collection, a relatively new approach that employs technology as a substitute to on-site or in-field surveyors.

At this time, transitioning to remote data collection may seem like an appealing choice for nonprofits. But before going down this path, it’s important to consider a few things. We underscore that this should only be done after considering the suitability of this option from a contextual and ethical perspective. First, remote data collection inherently relies on connecting with people through some form of technology, thereby excluding the most marginalised, as they may have limited infrastructural connectivity. Second, collecting data remotely is not a good idea if it puts anyone at greater risk of infection (for example, through shared phones), or if it increases the likelihood of participants facing domestic or other violence. Lastly, at this time of crisis, remote data collection shouldn’t be considered if it takes up a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on tasks critical to health and livelihoods, such as farming or travelling to seek care.

When collecting remote data does not raise any of these flags, this relatively new approach presents some exciting possibilities. Below, we’ve compiled a list of common myths about remote data collection that we bust, while mentioning important caveats.

  • Myth 1: Digital data collection is remote data collection
  • Myth 2: All data gathering planned pre-COVID-19, must now happen remotely
  • Myth 3: Only consider collecting data remotely when doing so in-person is not possible
  • Myth 4: Only quantitative data is conducive to remote data collection methods
  • Myth 5: Collecting data remotely is expensive
  • Myth 6: Phone calls are the only channel to collect data remotely

Read the full article about KEYWORD by Devyani Srinivasan and Priya Kekre at India Development Review.