Background

Creating structure around data

Our clients were, in their words “swimming in data soup.” They often had to collaborate together on county and town-level projects, and wanted to ensure that they were using numbers from the same data sources and had the same understanding about the status of their community. Their goal: to align around their work and their messaging around that work.

They enlisted Carolina Demography to streamline their existing processes for acquiring, updating, and maintaining the data they used for their community reports and presentations and to inform decision-making by local governments, businesses, and non-profits. We set out to develop an integrated, well-documented database of indicators that could be updated regularly in future years; and to develop methods for presenting the material to their stakeholders.

Approach

A partnership emerges and continues

We first made sure that we could replicate the existing data that the Chamber maintained – and then developed a database of over 50 economic, demographic, education, health, and environmental indicators that could be updated in future years. In addition, we developed documentation that indicated:

  • The data source for each indicator, when it is updated, and where to access current data
  • Information on calculations used to derive indicators
  • Key information for indicators, as needed
  • Which datasets to use and how to make comparisons across data sets
  • Analytical memos that highlighted significant trends

It’s important to note that this project was a true partnership – the data was provided by partner organizations across the county and state. We combined the resources available to make it workable for the clients’ use cases, and continually worked with our stakeholders throughout the project to ensure that the data and communications efforts met their needs.

Results

Our broad range of community data and analysis have supported public policy and business decisions in Orange County. They have also provided the data content for the Chamber’s annual State of the Community presentation to help local governments and businesses better understand existing and future demographic trends in the county and surrounding area.

 

 

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