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Data

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Determine Your Path Forward – Suggested Strategies

Use your score from the organizational assessment to select strategies from the list below that best fit your stage of data work, organizational and community context and capacity. Assuming that your United Way is already utilizing data to establish your impact goals, priorities, and strategies, the actions below will help more effectively integrate a specific equity lens:

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Collect and disaggregate data based on race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, income level, and ability status. By disaggregating data, we are able to hyper-focus our strategies and develop indicators that are nuanced and informative of the outcomes and impact we are committed to achieving. This is imperative to achieving equity because it allows us to uncover disparities driven by systemic inequities and focus our resources on closing gaps between and within groups that are most impacted by those disparities.

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Use data to develop a shared understanding of the problem and to identify existing community assets:

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  • Establish a baseline for your community. Leverage strategic partnerships including local universities to conduct a community needs assessment and/ or work with organizations/institutions that have already conducted assessments (e.g. health departments, hospitals). Engage the community in this process to ensure their perspectives are reflected in the design and execution of this assessment.
  • Select your indicators. Uncover root causes by engaging community partners. Select those indicators in collaboration with community partners and use those indicators to identify what outcomes have the greatest disparity amongst groups.
  • Map existing community assets to understand what is already in place and could be leveraged as part of your efforts and/or where your United Way could add value as a supporter. This is a reliable way to avoid duplicating well-established efforts and to focus your United Way’s work on filling potential gaps (e.g. lack of awareness, key constituencies not engaged in the work, disconnected efforts).
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Utilize data to tell stories that help to uncover root causes and frame systemic issues. Ensuring that storytelling is rooted in historic and present contexts as well as systemic factors helps to drive strategies focused on dismantling inequitable systems. Some examples include data and storytelling as a foundation to develop laws and policies, place-based initiatives, cross-sector partnerships, and community mobilization.

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Track equity progress over time. Systematically track, aggregate, and interpret data, especially in collaboration with community residents and partners. Identify (and track over time) specific community-level indicators with significant inequities based on historical and current discrimination related to race/ethnicity, gender, income level, and ability status. Recognize that because you are focusing on shifting systemic inequities change may be slower than expected. Be sure to set appropriate impact goals and invest in medium and long-term interventions to drive community outcomes.

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Incorporate data and equity in resource allocation processes. Explicitly focus on reducing disparities, including weighing more heavily potential investments that reduce disparity.

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Related Critical Success Factors (Modern United Way)
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  • Effectively Learn By Using Data
  • Understand Your Market