Recap: Data for Impact Conference 2020

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Recap: Data for Impact Conference 2020

Written by: Mehlam Bhuriwala


"Small data can make a big difference."

Corecentra recently attended this year’s Data for Impact Conference, which highlighted just how integral data has become to all facets of impact management & assessment. 


The annual conference, which included impact-conscious partners from across the country, is part of the Forward Fest, the Wisconsin-based showcase of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. As expected, this year’s virtual conference brought together some of the brightest minds in data and social impact.

Our key takeaways

The conference covered a wide range of topics—from gerrymandering to public health to the Black Lives Matter movement. We were particularly excited to hear the keynote speakers reinforce the importance of good ‘data judgment’ across the public and private sectors. Although 90% of nonprofits collect data, proper use of this information remains limited and constrained by ineffective tools. By training organizations to embrace skepticism and clearly understand the process behind data collection and its applicability, decisionmakers can construct impactful and successful action plans.


Renowned mathematician Dr. Jordan Ellenberg kicked off the conference with a fascinating exploration of the history and data strategy behind Wisconsin’s “extreme gerrymandering.” Ellenburg emphasized the power of computer modeling to “pack and crack” blue voters and benefit the Republicans drawing district lines in Wisconsin and cautioned other states to address the shrinking number of competitive House races.


Annette Miller, founder & CEO of diversity & inclusion strategy consulting firm EQT by Design and another keynote speaker, discussed the inherent bias and embedded structural racism in legacy data management, and provided a blueprint of data reimagined through an “Equity Lens” that is (per Miller) “relevant, reflective, and inclusive of ALL people”.


Other highlights included a sneak peek of the City of Madison’s COVID-19 Recovery Dashboard, an impressive platform that connects almost 50 metrics across 9 categories and will certainly serve as the benchmark for other municipal, county, and state governments to follow as the pandemic response develops. Speakers also touched on best practices for data collection and survey design, the importance of data in public health strategy, exciting ways to enhance data literacy, and, crucially, the role of data in emergent social justice movements.


Moving Forward

As the conference wrapped up, Corecentra’s team was thrilled by the level of data literacy and commitment to best practices across the social impact spectrum. We remain dedicated to facilitating standardized, equitable, and collaborative data projects. If you’re interested in learning more about best practices in data standardization for organizations in your sector, please schedule a time with us below or reach out to our CEO, Anish Nagar ( Corecentra is a software company providing purpose-built digital solutions for socially conscious, outcomes-focused companies, foundations, nonprofits, and select public sector agencies.

Remote Work and Data Standardization: Why the Social Sector Cannot WaitCheckout 

About Corecentra

Corecentra provides advanced digital tools for organizations to manage, monitor, and report their social performance and impact. We help socially-conscious companies, impact investors, foundations, nonprofits, and frontline government agencies manage portfolios and programs, aggregate and analyze data, and easily report outcomes to key stakeholders. By seamlessly integrating program management, budgeting & finance, stakeholder engagement, predictive analytics, and impact assessment, our products empower organizations to increase their social impact and deliver a quantified view of social performance to investors, donors, beneficiaries, employees, and communities.

Our Emergency Response & Impact Management (ERIM) platform allows organizations to efficiently manage a wide variety of pandemic-related projects, including economic support programs, community health initiatives, medical supply efforts, and philanthropic activities. Instead of waiting for data to trickle in from legacy systems and processes, leaders can use ERIM to track results and make data-driven decisions to help communities in real-time.