Making the Most of Data
Many organizations that help improve people’s lives collect valuable information on participants in their programs and on how an intervention is being implemented, but they often use the data only for monitoring the intervention and reporting the results to funders. However, organizations can also use data to provide a thorough understanding of how their intervention operates, to improve upon it, and to show how it affects the participants they serve. This guide highlights issues for organizations to consider when using, collecting, and managing their data. Based on the literature and site visits with selected AmeriCorps grantees, we describe how organizations use data to determine the ways in which an intervention being implemented is effective and the ways it is not, to help organizations improve program implementation, and to provide evidence to funders about effectiveness.