Analyzing Information

Here are some of the things you will be looking for as you analyze the data:

Overall: Are there clear themes that came from a majority of your stakeholders regarding the organization's strengths and challenges in regards to inclusiveness?

Inconsistencies in Existing Data: Are there inconsistencies between the community, field, and organizational data?  For example, do you find that the community data show that 45 percent of your service area is comprised of people of color, yet your client base is only 25 percent people of color?

Inconsistencies in Stakeholder Perspectives: Are there inconsistencies between stakeholder groups? For example, do you find that your Board of Directors believes that the organization is effectively serving communities of color, but your client base tells you something different?  Do you find that people of color and white people affiliated with the organization have widely divergent opinions about the organization's services?

Strongly Held Beliefs of Stakeholders: Are there any stories or strongly held beliefs about the organization that are preventing the organization from moving forward on inclusiveness matters?  For example, do some people in your organization believe that the mission of your organization is irrelevant to communities of color?

As is true with any planning process, analyzing the results from your information-gathering work will require some interpretation of the data, especially in regards to the stakeholder perspectives. The Inclusiveness Committee may be overwhelmed by the amount of potentially valuable information it receives. In this case, it is important for the committee to look at two important variables:

Information must be interesting and important: Is the information simply interesting, or is it really important to the work that we do?  For example, you might find that there is a perception that your organization does not adequately serve rural communities; however, if your catchment area does not include rural communities, then this may not be an important issue to focus on right away. (For more description on determining whether or not information is interesting and important, refer to Developing a Scope and Strategy.)

There must be an acceptable threshold for defining themes: Can you establish a threshold for the minimum number of people who need to share a perspective for an issue to be deemed a relevant "theme"? For example, is it important if only two stakeholders articulate a particular problem, if those two people represent ten percent of the people who were interviewed?  Your Inclusiveness Committee should discuss this issue ahead of time and get a general sense of a threshold that is acceptable to most members of the committee.