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More Than Numbers

A Guide Toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Data Collection

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How to make your data collection intentional, inclusive and equitable

As organizations in the philanthropy and nonprofit space strive to adopt emerging diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, there’s a renewed focus on data collection. And rightfully so—organizations need to collect demographic data to ensure they make informed decisions that accurately reflect the communities they serve.

But it’s about more than just what data you’re collecting; it’s also about how you’re collecting it. The process must be much more than just asking survey respondents to check a few boxes. Data collection must be intentional, inclusive and equitable. How an organization collects data reflects its values, by either perpetuating bias and inequity or promoting inclusion and equity.

In this guide, we explore the impact data collection methods have on whose voices are heard—and whose are excluded. And more than just an exploration of the limitations of traditional data collection processes, this guide provides best practices for demographic data collection, with a myriad of example questions and answers.

More Than Number DEI Guide cover

Quote from More Than Numbers Guide

As gatekeepers of data, we need to challenge the way we interpret data to ensure that we do not cause harm to historically excluded groups.

Key Takeaways

Over four insightful sections, this guide explores:

  1. Considerations in Demographic Data Collection: What data should be collected? How will data privacy and confidentiality be handled? How can trust be built with survey respondents? Where should demographic questions be placed within the broader survey?
  2. Best Practices in Demographic Data Collection: It begins with consent and confidentiality, continues on to the “why” of demographic data collection and finishes with a discussion of the most approachable formats.
  3. Facets of Identity and Recommendations for Inclusive and Respectful Collection: How can you respectfully collect demographic data about gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity? And how do you collect meaningful and respectful data about those with disabilities?

Bonus Content

The guide ends with additional considerations and valuable resources for creating surveys that not only collect meaningful data, but respect the individuals who are participating.

Access best practices for collecting equitable and inclusive demographic data.

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