“Driven by Data”: Advice from Local Data Experts!

Oct 11, 2019

A “Driven by Data” panel discussion featured four local data experts from Collaborative Member organizations and provided meeting attendees the opportunity to hear how different organizations leverage data and technology to drive positive impact in their work.

Thanks to our Panel of Data Experts which included:

  • Ryan Geraghty Performance & Data Analyst, 412 Food Rescue
  • Ariam Ford Interim Executive Director, Grounded Strategies
  • Kate Brennan Director of Operations, Nurture PA, Inc. 
  • Maddie Nagel Health & Social Services Coordinator, Clairton Cares

Throughout the discussion, our panelists shared helpful and actionable tips for managing and incorporating data to strengthen your organization:

  1. Build Data into Your Organization’s Existing Processes: Start with doing an inventory of what data you already have available and find ways to incorporate additional data collection naturally. Think creatively on how you can keep up with managing your data – design easy ways for your volunteers and staff to serve as your data collectors.
  2. Indulge Your “Hunches”: What questions keep you up at night? What weaknesses does your current program have? Often, these questions help inform where you may need to collect data to strengthen your work. 
  3. Acknowledge Survey Fatigue: In the nonprofit sector, we use surveys to collect data A LOT! So the next time you begin developing a survey, think about whether there’s another way to accomplish your goal. Perhaps a focus group or an interview with a client will provide more meaningful insight.
  4. Think Broadly About What Data Means: Keep in mind that data can be simple. Easy figures, such as how many clients are visiting your site in a day, can provide important insights! And remember that qualitative data is powerful– oral history and informal feedback are just as important as quantitative measures.

Additional Data Resources

Click on the links below to explore additional data resources that you may find helpful:

  • Jefferson Community Snapshots: include key demographic data for each of the 29 communities in the Jefferson Region.
  • Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Centerprovides publicly-available data sets from  the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to increase community engagement & analysis on public infrastructure, transit, the environment, health, and more.
  • American Community Survey: helps local officials, community leaders, and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities. This is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation.
  • HUD E-GIS Open Data Storefront: provides a one-stop shop where users can search for and discover HUD’s geospatial datasets, web-based mapping tools, and application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • PA Refugee Resettlement Program: here you can view the most up-to-date detailed demographics and arrival statistics for refugees in the state of Pennsylvania.

Census Hard to Count 2020features an interactive map highlighting the local hard-to-count tracts and provide details about how much of the area’s population may be at risk of an undercount.


Ready to Join the Conversation?

View and register for upcoming partner meetings, action team meetings, and more on our events page. If you have a question about attending an event, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Stay In Know & Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Updates Today!