This week I will ask you to participate with me in an interactive blog post. In the comments at the bottom, please add your own insights and/or questions about our topic today. Your input is so invaluable to me and our Navigator team and just hope you are aware we appreciate that you would get involved!

Progress has been made and plans continue to take shape to roll out CRM capabilities for more programs across Extension to enjoy. My team looks forward to supporting teams across the enterprise as the benefits based on CRM usage become more clear and more critical for all of us.

Even as we see that future arriving soon, though, I am receiving questions about our data. In fact, for many years each program has viewed data—in this case, we’re talking about contact and engagement info about our constituents—as something each of them have collected, each of them have curated and taken care of on their own. There are those of us who regard this information as “my data.”

That is to be expected and is understandable. However, with the upcoming use of CRM practices and a CRM software platform, we are entering a new realm. Our new normal (aren’t there a lot of new normals lately?) calls on us to accept a new standard: Extension’s constituent data is… our data!

Collectively, using our shared data…

  • we gain insight into the size and makeup of our constituent audience. When the data is aggregated, we can see who enjoys using our Extension website, what overall topics does our audience engage with, and what types of direct engagements do they prefer.
  • we see opportunities arise to note an individual’s volunteerism for a program unrelated to your own program, yet because they volunteered over there you recognize them as someone who may step up to help with volunteer needs that your program has currently.
  • we monitor and notify program leaders when a group of individuals are perhaps emailed too many times with separate email communications from disparate Extension programs. We’ll collaborate to understand what options are available to throttle up or down the level of email delivery while ensuring those folks do receive the important info they need.

But….. (there’s always a “but” right?)….. Our data will be safe and secure. The database will securely store the bits and bytes of information that make up our data. Plus, our data will be protected in other ways.

My team is intent on ensuring private information remains private. Additionally, what will not happen is that suddenly all contact records will become available to everyone at any time—no, thank you.

The driving force for system design work in Navigator will be that anyone with an authentic business need to access data will be given reasonable level of access to the data required to do their work and not more. We’re aware that the biggest impact of sharing contact info across Extension occurs in those cases where some type of outreach initiative is underway and our constituents begin to see emails or text messages arrive on their devices. That is a point of contact that we hold dear and will treat accordingly.

My own ongoing effort will be to consider how constituents are directly impacted by the work we do and produce tools that only operate with appropriate protections in place, and provide the level of transparency needed for everyone involved to have a snapshot of how our data is used.

Now comes the interactive part

In the comments, please take a moment to share with me, and the Navigator team, any questions you have around our shared data for Extension CRM efforts.

Likewise, if you have an idea how your program might make reasonable and responsible use of shared data to promote awesome things going on in Extension, please speak up? I would love to hear your stories—a story of what you’ve done before… or a story of what is possible!

Thank you. We cannot do this without you.

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2 thoughts on “What is data sharing? How to get used to it being “our data”

  1. A central depository certainly has its merits. One thing that comes to mind is that we should think about whether we are categorizing people by where they live, which OSU physical location they use, and where the content creator resides. For example, let’s say Maria is lives in Multnomah County but is a Clackamas Volunteer. Does she get alerts for programs in Multnomah County or Clackamas or both? And let’s say my county commissioners ask me to drop in tomorrow to talk about my impact. Do I report the number of people in my county who access our county web page, or the number of people anywhere who accessed my content?

    One reason we get into the “my” data discussion is that each faculty member is individually responsible to document impact, update annual reports, and maintain a CV for promotion. I like to be a team player, but when it comes down to my annual performance appraisal or promotion, I need to be able to separate what I’ve done out from the group. So as we find ways to share data, we need to maintain ways to capture individual effort.

  2. Wendy, hello! Great to hear from you and absolutely great input I’m hearing from you there. (first, thanks for doing that)

    In my world, we do talk about “attribution” for data records—i.e. who gets credit for getting Person A to arrive at Digital Asset B (web page, e.g.). While it’s quite typical to apply attribution to an individual contact record (a person’s contact info), in Extension I already know to get far more creative than that! So, we’ll be building toward a grand system that is tracking/reporting attribution on registration to an event, enrollment in an online course, a one-on-one appointment with a faculty member, and other engagements that have a digital footprint.

    Due to limitations we encounter, there may be times when that attribution is aggregated somewhat—we may credit a county, or a program with some of the successful engagements we measure, but we think much of that county- or program-related credit can be linked to the P&T discussions that will take place.

    It would be great to catch up with you and cover more of the points you so kindly raised. Thanks!

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