Deeping Your Understanding and Use of Demographic Data

Resources for Writing a Good Demographic Statement or Why Grant Writers Deserve their own type of Sherlock Holmes Hats

 

One of the most satisfying part of my job as a grant writer is when I’m listening to a client or colleague and they have a compelling request, “Can we find money to increase staffing for a homeless shelter” or “Can we find funding to improve school lunches”—you know the type of meeting that really reminds you why you do what you do. One of the first things I do after a meeting like this is to open up my data bookmark file and start culling sites for good data to link the vision of the organization with data to back up their request. Here are some sites to consider when starting on your quest for good data:

 

  1. The first stop when looking for domestic data and you aren’t sure what office to start with is to head over to USA.gov’s statistics page: www.usa.gov/statistics
  2. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) is a wealth of information—especially about poverty. The data is current and well researched: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/
  3. I like ePodunk for the unusual facts it uncovers about small towns and for the cool images it digs up on towns: http://www.epodunk.com
  4. DataUSA uses Census data but the cool feature on this site is that you can compare city to city or state to city, city to national and so on—-great way to start a demographic statement: https://datausa.io
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great site for baseline data: https://www.bls.gov/data/
  6. Pew Research Center covers a variety of tops from politics to global attitudes and trends. I find social and demographic trends to be extremely helpful: http://www.pewresearch.org/download-datasets/
  7. If you are looking for ways convince the business community why to invest in your organization or why this issue is important to the community here’s a great site to help you find some convincing data:  https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
  8. Google Data has a slew of free infographics that can help build a great grant application: https://www.google.com/publicdata/directory
  9. This is a very comprehensive list of demographic sites that your future self who is searching the internet for good data while on a grant deadline will thank your current self who is reading this blog whilst relaxed and enjoying a good cup of coffee and had the good sense to bookmark: http://www.ala.org/rt/magirt/publicationsab/demdata

 

As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes declared “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Good data is the foundation of a winning grant so the next time you start a grant, strap on your best Sherlock Holmes hat and go find good data to make your case.

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