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To effectively develop strategies and focus actions on Out-of-School Time efforts, United Ways and their coalition members must use good data. Coalitions must determine what type of data to collect to inform strategy development; to continually reassess and improve programs; to evaluate and demonstrate progress; and to communicate results.

Use Data to Drive Impact

Many United Ways have considerable experience using data to drive their impact work in education, income and health. A key element of the United Way's business model is developing strategies and focusing actions — doing this effectively requires:

  • Access to good data
  • The ability to analyze and interpret this data
  • The capacity to use data to drive systemic and continuous improvements
  • The knowledge required to evaluate and communicate results for individuals, programs, specific populations and entire communities.

Like any education strategy, establishing and consistently using comprehensive data systems is essential in order for Out-of-School Time (OST) programs and large-scale initiatives to be successful. Working as part of broader coalitions, United Ways can support these programs by ensuring that OST strategies are based on research. Also, United Ways can evaluate program results and strategically communicate the ways in which the coalition's efforts have strengthened outcomes for young people who participate in out-of-school programs.


Diversity of Data

There is a great deal of variety when discussing kinds of data. Therefore, it is highly important that your United Way both understands the types of data that can be collected and effective uses of the data your United Way gathers.

This toolkit can help you understand the uses of data for creating Out-of-School Time systems; consider the types of data that are essential to collect; connect you to resources from other United Ways and national organizations; and consider ways that your United Way can strengthen Out-of-School Time data access, quality, and use in your community. Expand your understanding of data types and usage by clicking on the links below!

To further explore effective uses of data, head to the Learning Modules. And, to explore one high-quality, high-impact method of systematically using data to proactively intervene and improve the likelihood of youth success, go to the Early Warning and Response Systems page. There, you'll find information and resources on the importance of and methods to implement an Early Warning and Response System in the work that your United Way is doing in Out-of-School Time.

Learn More About Types Of And Uses For Data Collection!

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