It’s been a month since the Transform the Sector, but Powered by Data still feel energized by the conference after seeing 300 people from government, foundations, and nonprofits come together with international and Canadian experts to discuss how digital data can move their work forward!
As a first step, Powered by Data are working to take the great conversations that happened at Transform the Sector and turn them into useful resources. Sign up to be a reviewer of those materials here and provide your feedback before their publication.
Here is a list of the 5 themes that emerged throughout the conference:
1) The importance of doing data ethically
- As Lucy Bernholz made clear in her keynote speech, we need to build a digital civil society that reflects our values. That means ensuring that data collection and storage is done in a way that respects the people it is being collected from, and ensures that already vulnerable people are not being put at greater risk.
2) Administrative data can help the social sector
- Administrative data can help the social sector better evaluate its impact. Some projects that are using administrative data already - New Philanthropy Capital in the UK and Canada’s Robyn Blackadar at PolicyWise! Given the success of these existing projects, it’s clear there are opportunities to scale up the use of administrative data in Canada.
3) Data will continue to impact the relationship between civil society and government
- A lot of thought has gone into how nonprofits can maintain their independence from funders but it is important to be reminded that the increased use of data will likely continue to push the sector towards a more integrated model. The way the sector chooses to handle this transformation will impact the extent to which that happens. The sector could mitigate this loss of independence, but only if it recognizes this trend and develops alternative models.
4) The social sector needs to increase its data capacity now
- While panelists and participants pointed to the work done by the Mowat Center and by ONN as early initiatives highlighting the importance of the sector learning how to benefit from data, that need became increasingly apparent throughout the day. Nearly 60% of respondents from the post conference survey said that they specifically needed help “increasing the social sector's (or my sub-sector's) ability to use data”.
5) The data transformation is already underway
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