An Alberta Data Strategy Takes Shape

September 08, 2020 3:30 PM | Anonymous

When ABNN held its first gathering in 2018, the question was asked: What would be most valuable in advancing Alberta’s nonprofit sector as a whole? 

One of the top answers: meaningful data.

Stakeholders said that having the right information at the right time would better equip nonprofit and voluntary organizations to understand, measure and communicate impact, make evidence-informed decisions, advocate for system-level changes and drive program and organizational outcomes. Acting on this expressed need, ABNN formed the Data Strategy Steering Committee.

Moving towards the strategic use of data requires coordinated efforts and stakeholder input and buy-in. With the oversight of the ABNN Data Strategy Committee, PolicyWise for Children & Families brought together more than 25 data champions to explore how to advance the sector’s strategic use of data. Split out into three Task Teams, these representatives came from government, disability sector, voluntary organizations, technology backgrounds, libraries and the immigrant and refugee sectors. 

Each task team engaged with the nonprofit sector to develop recommendations for action:

  • The Data Hub Task Team researched data platforms and interviewed data hub moderators to develop a data hub model to best meet the needs of the sector;
  • The Newcomer Task Team scanned current data initiatives in the immigrant and refugee sectors and nonprofit sector broadly to document learnings and identify gaps; and
  • The Government of Alberta Data Task Team explored how to improve knowledge and awareness of the high-value data on the Open Government Portal to the sector. 

Through the work of the Task Teams, eight projects concepts of varying scale were developed. These projects focus on capacity building, data sharing, Government of Alberta data and the development of an Alberta Nonprofit Data Hub. More detail on these eight projects and the full Data Strategy Report: Building a Knowledge-Driven Nonprofit Sector or snapshots can be found on the Data Strategy website.

“The process showed how collaboration among nonprofits and their partners can create the kind of data initiatives that will be useful to everyone,” said Robyn Robyn Blackadar, PolicyWise President & CEO. “We look forward to continuing this journey and supporting the nonprofit sector to realize the full potential of this project.”

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