Expanded learning intermediaries are dedicated to making after-school and summer programs better and more accessible for children and youth within their communities. Data are a crucial part of this work. Data can help nonprofit leaders and staff make decisions about how best to allocate resources, what type of support to provide programs, and how to get more young people into programs. To get the benefits of data, therefore, organizations need to think about what to collect, how to collect it, and how to use it.
The authors reviewed the quality of the data that expanded learning intermediaries in three cities collect; the measurement tools they use; the condition of their databases; the way they store, process, and use data; and the resources — human, material, and financial — that they bring to bear on their data-related work. Then they developed a ten-step plan to help expanded learning nonprofits address these challenges and illustrated the steps using examples from the three cities they studied. This guide offers practical, research-based advice to those in the expanded learning field who work with data, or want to work with data, particularly intermediary staff with experience in data selection, collection, and management. The guide aims to help expanded learning intermediaries effectively use data to benefit the programs, communities, and young people they serve.