As grantmakers shape their strategies and priorities, many are looking for ways to leverage data and build collaborative relationships with grantees. But too often, this is framed as an “either or” choice: either they can follow the data or center the community.
These are not mutually exclusive frameworks. Grantmakers don’t have to choose between a trust-based approach and a data-driven one.
In fact, the most effective grantmaking strategy weaves together the two approaches to ensure that community voices provide context for data, and the data captures the lived experiences of community members.
Engaging with and understanding a community’s perspective requires buy-in from the community itself. Jonathan Schwabish and Alice Feng, authors of Do No Harm: Applying Equity Awareness in Data Visualization, explain how community involvement bolsters research:
- This kind of buy-in— from members of the community,
- policymakers, and other stakeholders—can help the research be more impactful,
- relevant, and embraced by a wider audience.