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Collecting and Reporting on Data

Evaluating DataCollecting and Reporting on Data: Learn how your nonprofit can be more data-driven in your operations.*

Written by: Kevin Lo on May 8, 2012

What Is Data?

As we digitize our operations more, we collect more data. Data can be something as basic as the amount of energy your shelter is using, the amount of money you are spending, or the number of women you’ve served in a month. But as our ability to collect more data increases, we must also learn to effectively distill it into information. For example, if you have data showing that you are using more energy in one space than in another, similar-sized space, you might consider auditing the energy use of both spaces. Similarly, while you may know that one shelter serves more women than another, additional data may reveal that it is doing so less efficiently. Learning to think in a data-centric manner will help you achieve your mission better. Although you may think that it’s too much hassle to change the status quo, spending some time to become a data-driven organization will lead to better results.

Storing and Using Data

Your data can, and probably is, everywhere, in every format possible. Your paper files from years ago, videos you took that are still in VHS format, or computer files in a backup drive format that’s no longer even supported. Returning to our earlier example, you almost certainly keep track of how many women come through your doors in a month. Do you keep just paper copies of intake forms? Do you have an intern enter that data into a spreadsheet? Do you then enter that information into a client management database? You are most likely collecting data with all three methods, but they differ in their accessibility and usability for future analysis.

Is Help for Struggling Vets Really Impossible?

vetshealinglogoAccording to Margaret Stone of President, Veterans Healing Initiative, "there's no doubt that for veterans struggling with substance abuse, getting help can seem all but impossible. The stigma attached to addiction and trauma keeps too many veterans out of treatment -- whether it's the warrior ethos that's been instilled throughout their service or the fear of consequences for admitting they need help."

Instead of just talking about such issues, however, Ms. Stone is taking the initiative to resolve the problem at its core, through services provided by Veterans Healing Initiative: "We're fighting that taboo. We're talking about substance abuse and trauma, challenging the stigma, and helping veterans get the treatment they deserve. We're dedicated to helping veterans access treatment for addiction and the trauma and the chronic pain issues that often accompany this disease. As a nonprofit, VHI raises funds so those veterans who would otherwise go without care can receive treatment."

Go here to read more, weigh-in with your thoughts below, and "Like" the organization on Facebook here.

One-Half of Both College Freshmen and Household Residents Believe Marijuana should be Legalized

GraphOne-Half of Both College Freshmen and Household Residents Believe Marijuana should be Legalized

According to a report conducted by University of Maryland, College Park (Cesar FAX, "A Weekly FAX from the Center for Substance Abuse Research" May 14, 2012 Vol. 21, Issue 19):

"One-half of both college freshmen and adult household residents in the believe that marijuana should be legalized, following a decade of increased support among both populations. In 2011, 49% of college freshmen reported that they though marijuana should be legalized, a percentage not seen since the record high of 51% in 1977. At that time, support by household residents for marijuana legalization was much lower, ranging from 15% to 28% during the 1970s. Since then, the percentage of household residents who think that marijuana should be legalized has increased, reaching a record high of 50% in 2011."*

*SOURCES: Adapted by CESAR from data from the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), CIRP Freshmen Survey (available online at; and Gallup, “Record-High 50% of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana Use,” Press Release, October 17, 2011. The complete report is available online here.

What do you think - should marijuana be legalized? Make your voice heard by sounding in below!

AVANCE Grants for $50,000 Available!

Avance Grants for $50,000AVANCE (ah-vahn-ceh), a nonprofit organization that provides parenting and early childhood education programs along with other family support services, is accepting proposals to enter into a re-grant agreement with AVANCE to implement their comprehensive nine month Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP).

Beginning in 2010, with a $12.6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, AVANCE created the Unlocking America’s Potential Project (UAPP) to expand the evidence-based PCEP across the United States. AVANCE is re-granting funds over a three year time period (2011, 2012, and 2013) to twelve qualified organizations serving low-income Hispanic families.

The UAPP Re-grant allows for a one-time payment of $50,000 to selected organizations to help with initial setup costs to implement the PCEP. AVANCE provides intensive training to the staff selected to deliver the program, along with technical assistance, monitoring, and evaluation visits. Throughout the project, the best practices of each partner and AVANCE are shared to develop creative innovations and help improve the learning environment for participating families and AVANCE's peers.

“The release of this third and final UAPP Request For Proposal marks a major milestone. We have just recently secured the 2012 re-grant partners and are awaiting a preliminary report from The National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) regarding the longitudinal research component of the project," explained Magdalena G. Santos, AVANCE Project Director. "At this point, we are ecstatic at the accomplishments of our new found partners. These are exciting times in early childhood education and it is wonderful to be part of creating partnerships and innovations that will have a lasting impact on generations to come.”

The recipients of the 2012 UAPP Re-grants were Amistades, Inc. in Tucson, AZ; Easter Seals Goodwill Industries in New Haven, CT; and The Family Place in Washington, D.C. They were selected due to their alignment with AVANCE’s mission, organizational structure, accreditation and evidence of impact within their communities among other criteria.

AVANCE President and CEO, Richard J. Noriega, said,“Our expansion efforts are being realized in a major way. The project has allowed us to serve more families than ever before and thrust AVANCE into leading the way in parent and early childhood education.”

For more information about applying for this grant, please email us here.



TEA requesting applications for RFA #701-12-102

RFA ~ Eligible Applicants
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is requesting applications for the Online College and Career Preparation Technical Assistance Program grant, Cycle 2, from school districts and open-enrollment charter schools in Texas on behalf of campuses that meet the following criteria:

  1. the campus must serve students in Grades 9-12; 
  2. the campus must be evaluated under standard procedures in the state accountability system; 
  3. the percentage of campus student population identified as at-risk is greater than or equal to 75%; 
  4. the percentage of campus student population identified as economically disadvantaged is greater than or equal to 60%;
  5. the campus serves no fewer than 100 students; or (6) the campus participated in the Online College Preparation Assistance Pilot Program starting March 15, 2010, and ending August 31, 2011.

A list of eligible campuses and funding amount will be made available. The list of eligible campuses was established using 2010-2011 data from the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS). (Campuses that are participating in the Online College and Career Preparation Technical Assistance Program grant, Cycle 1, that began on March 1, 2011, and ends on August 31, 2012, are not eligible for participation in this grant program.)

Note: A separate grant application must be submitted for each eligible campus that chooses to participate in the grant program. Also, applications must be submitted by the deadline to be eligible for consideration for funding.

READ MORE about this RFA...
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