More than Numbers: A Guide Toward Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Data Collection

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.