Recently, I heard a story about a teenager who wanted to join a youth group. She went onto the website to register. A few minutes later, she told her mom she wasn't joining. When her mom asked "why," the young woman said "There was no one on the website who looked like me."
Organizations have become more aware in recent years about the need to ensure that their graphics, images, and language need to reflect a broad cross section of the public. But many of us do not apply that thinking to our work with data.
Like all areas, technology runs on a series of assumptions. The focus of those assumptions will determine how information is collected, analyzed and used. The impact, user experience, data collected will all be influenced by these assumptions. This may cause you, as an organization to under-represent important information, to make possible users feel your organization isn't interested in them, or other unintended outcomes.
If you are like me, it can be hard to know where to start to tackle questions about equity in data. Thankfully, NTEN has published an Equity Guide for Nonprofits. This can be a great way to question your assumptions, and those of your organization and give you key insights to improve your digital work.
We are all on this journey together. Why not jumpstart your organizations impact by using relevant knowledge created by nonprofit professionals for our sector.
Ann Rosenfield is the Editor of Hilborn Charity eNews and has nearly completed her nonprofit technology certificate through NTEN. She was lucky to receive a scholarship for the program.