Nonprofits and Data: A How-To Series

1. Using Data to Support Grant Applications and Other Funding Opportunities
A resource that demonstrates ways in which data can be used to enhance the work of nonprofit organizations and community groups.This document presents the sections of a grant that need to be backed up by data, details where to find that data, and pulls it all together by explaining the difference between ineffective and effective uses of data.

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2. Monitoring Trends and Identifying Emerging Problems
Monitoring trend data is one of the most important things a nonprofit can do when implementing programs and developing service delivery strategies. Keeping on top of trends and data within a community can provide early warnings of new problems or present new opportunities and increase a community’s ability to respond to both.

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3. Using Data to Disseminate Information to Engage Community and Policymakers
Data is a powerful asset in any advocacy effort to promote your cause or make the case for policy change. Data is objective information that creates significant authority for your argument. Thus, data collection and analysis are the keys to effective advocacy.

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4. Using Data to Evaluate Progress in Meeting Goals
This report answers the questions of "What is evaluation?", "What is evaluation data?", and "Why evaluate?". It provides guidelines for using data in a step-by-step process. It also outlines pitfalls and good practices in regards to evaluating the data.

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5. Using Data to Establish Priorities and Plan Programs
Are you a program planner or on a taskforce to establish priorities? Perhaps you are creating new programs, adjusting old programs, expanding successful programs, ending no longer needed programs, or prioritizing community need. No matter the task, it is implied that planning should go before any kind of program implementation or priority establishment. Using reliable data in the planning process increases the success of the endeavor.

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6. Using Data to Characterize Disparities Across Sub Populations/Communities
A disparity is defined as “a lack of equality and similarity, especially in a way that is not fair” or “the condition or fact of being unequal, as in age, rank, or degree; difference.” Disparities are often based on race, ethnicity, English proficiency, income/socioeconomic status, age, or gender. The health care field has conducted extensive research to document disparities that exist in medical treatment, health outcomes, and health care access in the United States. This body of expertise will guide much of the discussion that follows.

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How To Write a Proposal

This workbook is designed to help you wrap your arms around your program or project so that you can effectively communicate it to your supporters.

Throughout the following steps featured in this workbook, keep asking yourself, "Is my project feasible or am I creating an unrealistic situation?" For example, it is very easy to want to create a project to attract funding. Many funders today are interested in innovative and collaborative methods to achieve results. However, while focusing on the innovative and collaborative strengths, don't lose site of the fiduciary responsibilities for the monies awarded. If your project is created in haste to attract funding but is unable to achieve that which was proposed, you will find yourself in an uncomfortable position.

To avoid such a dilemma, the following workbook will take you through the steps of developing a grant proposal. The grant proposal process in this workbook involves three steps; identifying, developing, and submitting.

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