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Nonprofit Data Needs Assessment:
The Process

There are three phases in the NDNA: Data Visioning, Data Quality Assessment + Strategy Plan, and Implementation. MRS strongly recommends completing the Data Visioning process first before moving on to the quality assessment. However, organizations may choose to do the Data Quality Assessment only if they wish.

Part 1: 

Data Visioning

The Data Visioning process aims to understand how staff members describe the organization’s impact and where its data fits into the picture. Through in-depth interviews and document review, MRS will identify:

  • What questions staff members have about their programs/departments

  • What data already exists within the organization that can help answer their key questions

  • What additional data the organization will need to address its key questions and accurately demonstrate their impact


Organizations will receive a deliverable that includes recommendations regarding how to use existing data and what additional data they should collect to strengthen their case for impact.

A group of three people writing ideas on a clear whiteboard.
Pink and yellow sticky notes on a whiteboard. Blue writing is on the whiteboard.

Part 2: Data Quality Assessment + Strategy Plan

The goal of the Data Quality Assessment + Strategy Plan is to determine if organizations have the proper processes and procedures in place to ensure high-quality data collection and analysis. The assessment will evaluate organizations along four criteria:

  • Data Decisions

  • Data Processes

  • Using the Results

  • Staff Education Needs

The deliverable is a strategy plan that will cover what steps the organization can take to improve the quality of its data and boost staff comfort levels with data over time.​​

Part 3: Implementation

MRS is available to help organizations implement the recommendations from the Data Visioning process and the Data Quality Assessment.

Image by Hannah Busing
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