Many nonprofit organizations and public agencies are still unsure how to use data in their work. Where do we find the data? What do all of these numbers mean? There are so many spreadsheets! We don’t have any data experts on staff! How can we use data to further our mission?
To help people in the nonprofit and public sectors spend less time hunting for data and more time serving kids and families, we built kidsdata.org.
More than 10 years ago, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health realized that it was challenging to find data about children’s health and well-being. Data were locked up in printed reports and on hard drives. If you wanted to use data, you needed to spend countless hours tracking it down and making sense of it.
Technology has changed a lot in 10 years. Millions more people have access to the Internet. Government agencies are making their data available to the public. Portals and apps are springing up to make data more accessible. Because data are increasingly available, you are almost expected to use data if you want to illustrate the need for change. And the need for something like kidsdata still exists.
Why use kidsdata?
More and more data are available to the public today. However, “available” doesn’t always mean “useful.” Kidsdata aims to provide data to nonprofit and public sector organizations — often challenged by limited time and resources — in a way that enables them to use data easily.
So, what differentiates kidsdata from other data sites?
- It’s a curated collection of data that have passed rigorous requirements
- We do the work for everyone: we gather, display, and explain data from more than 35 trusted sources
- It allows nonprofits, local governments, school districts, legislators, and advocates to find relevant data for free
- It has an easy interface to visualize specific regions, years, and data types
- It is wide-ranging but specific: the site features over 500 indicators of child health and well-being in California
- Most importantly, it allows users to access and use the data to help children and families
Skip the treasure hunt
Kidsdata offers users multiple options to find data. Most people start at the list of topics on the site, and then drill down to the indicator they are interested in, such as “Education and Child Care” or “Environmental Health.”
For those who serve a particular geographic community in California, we offer the data by region section. Our site includes data for every county, city, school district, and legislative district in the state.
Users can also find data about specific demographic groups, such as adolescents/teenagers, children with special health care needs, racial breakdowns, and more.
Data to go
It’s simple to include a customized graph or chart in a grant proposal or embed it on your website. There are four ways for you to take it with you by clicking on “Download & Other Tools” to the top right of any graph:
- Copy an image of your visualization into a Word document or PowerPoint slide
- Download the data into an Excel spreadsheet
- Get a PDF overview of the topic and insert your customized graph
- Embed your graph in your website or blog
These options make it simple for anyone to use data to advocate for better dental care for kids, for example, or to increase funding for school nurses.
Graphs, bars & pies
All kidsdata indicators can be visualized in different ways. In one click, you can switch a table to a trend graph, bar chart, map, or pie chart. Data visualizations can help tell stories in ways that best resonate with specific audiences. No need for a fancy graphic designer – kidsdata displays your customized data automatically.
We’ve done the homework, too
The narratives and resources that accompany kidsdata visualizations give crucial contextual information to interpret data. Each indicator has a description of how it’s measured. There are also explanations of why the topic is important, how children are faring in California, and policy implications. The background information available on kidsdata gives users a better understanding of what the datasets mean.
No dusty data here
We are continuously updating our data throughout the year. Anyone can sign up for e-alerts that notify users when we update data in the topics, regions, or demographic groups that interest users most.
Kidsdata success stories
We want nonprofits and public agencies to use kidsdata to support their work. We’ve made a vast amount of important data easy to find, use, and understand so that users can best improve the lives of children. Kidsdata’s Data in Action section features stories from organizations that have used kidsdata to further their impact. There are also tips and links to other free resources.
Today, the Internet is home to a massive amount of data, but many data sites are clunky, confusing, or out of date. Kidsdata is a uniquely straightforward home for key data on children in California.