Didn’t catch the beginning of our Data blog series? Read ‘Part 1: 3 Reasons why Data is here to stay.‘
Would you consider yourself Type A (competitive, ambitious, high-strung) or Type B (relaxed, go-with-the-flow)?
Personally, I’m Type A. I want things neat, organized and practically perfect in every way…just like Mary Poppins. Efficiency is my middle name and I have a difficult time collaborating with others who are easy-going and laid back. I don’t understand them!
My Type A personality lends itself to the use of data. I like numbers. I like facts. I like being right and knowing that I’m right. I like winning, whether it’s a game or an argument.
But, let’s say you’re Type B….
Numbers don’t matter to you. You’re a people-person and are comfortable taking problems in stride as they come at you. There are many career paths that completely embrace people of this personality type, but many businesses and organizations depend on numbers and data. Case in point? Government organizations.
This blog will serve as a brief tutorial for all of you Type B’s out there. Continue reading to learn why you need to push outside of your comfort zone to embrace data. Learn how you can embrace your data-driven government organization, despite your personality type.
When I think about the word “government,” the word “funding” also comes to mind. Government entities and non-profit organizations are responsible for providing a rationale before acquiring grants, loans, and other funding. They need to answer questions like:
- Why do your organizations need funding? What improvements need to be made?
- How have funds been used in the past? Where has progress been made?
- How will the requested funds be used?
Data has the power to provide a response to these questions using cold, hard facts and concrete numbers. These numbers can explain the purpose of your work and what you are trying to accomplish. Data provides the “why” behind your job.
When you collect and analyze your data, then implement changes based on your findings, odds are that you will dramatically improve productivity, save time, and utilize your assets and manpower more effectively. As a result, you will be able to use your funding wisely by planning a strategic course of action for those funds.
Let’s take this a step further now and talk about accountability. Down the road you will be held accountable for how the funding was used. By collecting and maintaining data, you will have easily accessible records to refer to when reporting back to the funder. Your organization will be fully transparent. Furthermore, this data can be made public to improve trust and approval in the eyes of the public. If your organization is doing what it is supposed to be doing – and doing it well – shout it from the rooftops and share that data!
A 2010 survey of human service organizations found that government agencies provide funding to approximately 33,000 human service organizations and that this funding accounts for almost 70% of total revenue!
Those numbers speak for themselves, don’t they, Type B-ers? With so much funding at stake, data is a no brainer!
Still have questions about how you can embrace your data-driven government organization? Data.gov is a website devoted entirely to – you guessed it – data! The site has numerous examples of how citizens have leveraged data in various industries, which may be helpful to review before diving into data collection and analysis. You can also submit your success stories for others to learn from.