21NTC Session

Workshop: What Counts? Telling Stories in a Data-Driven World


The nonprofit sector has increasingly lost touch with the original purpose of data collection — helping our constituents. Instead it is increasingly driven by box-checking and funder priorities.

In this session, we’ll propose a radical new idea — that isn’t so new afterall. We’ll talk about how to push “pause” on this relentless march to collect more and more data. How to be more human. And how to use data collection to give power back to our communities.

Maybe it’s as easy as asking “How are you doing today? What’s happening in your life? How can we help you get what you need?”

Together we’ll explore how data collection can help our organization’s shift to a people-centric attitude. And we’ll share methods and examples for bridging the gap between mandated data collection and this alternative vision.

Session Type

60 minute workshop

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand who is served by our sector’s current data collection practices
  • Learn examples of how alternative data collection methods can shift us towards a people-centered mindset
  • Strategies for how you can start this process in your own organization given your specific funding and reporting requirements

Target Audience

Staff involved in designing and implementing data collection tools


Change ManagementDataPrivacy


Toby Shulruff

Senior Technology Safety Specialist

National Network to End Domestic Violence

Toby works at the intersection of technology and gender-based violence to analyze the impacts of technologies such as the Internet of Things, communication tools, and data security, and to develop strategies to increase survivor safety and privacy. Toby has worked to strengthen organizations, advance systems coordination, improve services for survivors, and prevent violence since 1997. Toby is studying Public Interest Technology (MS) at the College of Global Futures at Arizona State University. She has a passion for bringing together people from a variety of backgrounds to find solutions to highly complex problems.

Sam Chenkin

Organizer & Consulting

Reclaim the Sector

I’m a white queer trans woman building community in the pursuit of transformative justice. My main project — Reclaim the Sector — is an organizing and consulting effort seeking to radicalize the nonprofit sector towards this purpose. Unlike most equity consultants I don’t focus on creating “woke” leaders. Instead I help nonprofits create new decision making and accountability structures that ensure real power is in the hands of community members.

I bring to this work over a decade of nonprofit experience, personal experiences of trauma and marginalization, and the many rich relationships that sustain me and inform my vision of a better world. Also, I’m into quilting, cooking without a recipe, and not taking myself too seriously.



March 24, 2021


8:30am – 9:30am