This toolkit from the Forum for Youth Investment's Ready by 21 initiative enables partners to share data among themselves and create a permanent system of shared measurements to consistently track results and make adjustments based on those results. This tool guides partners through a process of identifying data needs, filling data gaps, and using data to influence real-time decision making, and includes a number of tools, readings, and other resources.

What this is
Ready by 21© is a set of innovative strategies developed by the Forum for Youth Investment that helps communities and states improve the odds that all children and youth will be ready for college, work and life. The Forum organized those strategies and the related toll and Bolder Action. The Better Data toolkit helps partners in a collective impact effort collect better data and use it to drive decisions. It guides them to collect complete data about youth outcomes, community supports and leadership actions; align and connect data for decision making across systems; and use the best information about what works to make strategies more effective.

How this Connects to Collective Impact
This toolkit enables partners to not only collect existing data, but to share data among themselves and create a permanent system of shared measurements in order to consistently track results and make adjustments based on those results.

How this tool is used
This tool guides partners through a process of identifying data needs, filling data gaps, and using data to influence real-­‐time decision making. The process includes using existing data (from government agencies, for example) and creating new data through surveys and analyses. The tools include a Taking Stock Worksheet to assess what data is already at hand and where data collection needs to improve, and information about the Gallup Student Poll, which measures the hope, well-­‐being and engagement of young people. The toolkit also includes readings and other resources.

Most of the tools in this kit are carried out as a group activity, at least initially, often with in-­‐ person facilitation by the Forum for Youth Investment. The tools and worksheets were created for partnerships working on child and youth issues, but they can be (and have been) used by partnerships focused on other populations or on specific community issues.