Showing posts from July, 2018

Story Before Storage

"Story before storage" has become my catchphrase for addressing a big issue with nonprofit data. In my consulting work, I've seen this problem over and over in data collection approaches used by nonprofits. The problem is that nonprofits are collecting and storing data that they have never told as a story or used to connect with stakeholders. When we say "data-driven decision making," there is an implication that the data tells the story, that all our stakeholders need is access to the complete data and they will be able to see our story. This is as ineffective as imagining that all someone needs to understand how to operate complex machinery is a detailed diagram of the engine, gears, and pedals. At worst, we collect data, maybe make some decisions, and then store it without ever telling the story of why we made those decisions based on that data. When you move from data collection to storage without letting it inform a story that your stakeholders can see an