I was chatting recently with a manager at a multi-service agency about her experience over the past year and she spoke about how uneven the impact of the pandemic has been not just in the city, but within her agency.
In her organization, several programs have been put on hold or gone virtual and staff are able to work from the safety and comfort of home. Yet, in other programs, staff continue to don PPE and visit people in the community every day. On top of this, some of the outreach workers are also caring for family members and carry the double burden of worrying about whether they are putting their loved ones at risk by going to work.
Of course, dealing with unevenness and inequity in society is not new for many of us working in the non-profit sector. For me, the unevenness with which data is benefiting private interests over public interests is something I think about a lot. But lately I have also been thinking about the unevenness with which data is utilized within the non-profit sector. What are the consequences for a non-profit sector if only some of its members are able to make use of their data? And what opportunities are there to level the playing field for those organizations that have fewer resources?
With this in mind, we are launching our Ask Us service, a free data helpdesk for the sector. If your request can be fulfilled in less than an hour, we will provide the service at no cost. For repeat requests or questions that require a larger work effort, we will consult with you about your needs and provide a cost estimate. We hope that this service offers a small step towards making data more actionable for non-profits of all sizes.