Nonprofits, research methods, data management


How do nonprofit organizations use data and research? What challenges do they face in conducting research and managing data? In spring of 2004, 80 nonprofit organizations in Toledo, Ohio returned a survey on their research and data needs and practices. The survey found that nonprofits collect data on a wide variety of topics, but do not use much of the data that they collect, and do not collect much data that could be useful for other groups, particularly neighborhood organizations. The average nonprofit in the survey has five employees and four volunteers who, together, spend 56 hours per week collecting, managing, and reporting on data. Nearly half of the organizations have no staff or volunteers with formal research training. The others have only one or two people with formal research training. More than half indicated a need for training on how to conduct evaluations, how to use data management software, how to conduct research, and how tofindfunding.

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