What is a data collaborative?
A data collaborative (or collective) is a group of organisations that have joined forces to share their data.
Here are five benefits of data collaboration for your organisation
1. Make a bigger impact in your community
Data sharing can help your organisation make a bigger impact by giving you access to data that is held within the community, filling the gaps left by open data. That’s because more data means better insights about the problems you’re collectively trying to solve in your community. Pooling resources will help your organisation more easily identify community needs, track the impact of programs and activities and any trends in the community. Data collaboration can help you identify what works (and what doesn’t) and save you time reinventing the wheel.
2. Have confidence you and your partners are well informed to have a better conversation
Like-minded organisations focused on improving lives in the community hold important information about services that could be pooled to turn that data into insight and knowledge to benefit the collective. Not-for-profits can also collaborate with government agencies and access “closed” public datasets to fill the gaps not filled by Open Data. When you have the knowledge, then together partners can have data-informed conversations about how to best respond.
3. Build and grow a data set about the issues that matter in your community
One of the common pitfalls of social sector data is that it can be messy, held across various locations or there simply isn’t enough of it. And that’s assuming you’re collecting it properly in the first place. As a result, community level data can be challenging to access and analyse. Many local groups don’t have the resources or know how to do the analysis themselves, due to resource constraints or data literacy. Joining forces with other groups can help lighten the load and save you time answering commonly asked questions and accomplishing shared goals. You’ll also be creating a data asset for future planning and the community’s benefit.
4. Contribute powerfully to the local, state and national policy debate with local data and knowledge
Understand the issues in your community and present a case for what is needed to funders, both Government and philanthropic, and give greater focus to your collective vision of what work needs to be done to improve your community. You can also compare programs, track community outcomes or gain insights about what works (and what doesn’t).
Combining your community stories with the local data will mean you can have more power in the policy debate. There’s no story without data and no data without story.