Tip of the Week: Doing It By the Numbers

We’re back with another juicy nugget from Looking Forward: The Future of Animal Welfare, The Association’s virtual conference held earlier this month. Here’s a little pep talk for data collection, courtesy of Shelter Animals Count’s Stephanie Filer and Chris Beard of CenterGrid


Don’t know what you’re going to use all your shelter data for? That’s completely okay.

Collect now, assess later.

“You don’t have to be solving anything out of the gate,” says CenterGrid’s Chris Beard. “If there are three or four data points you can start collecting now that you can build on later, do it. Put it on the shelf, pull it off later—it may become useful, it might not.  But the sooner you start, the sooner it will become routine.” And that means it’ll be easier to assess your data and use it to make decisions and get community and team buy-in for programs and projects.

And if you haven’t been consistent in entering data, or if the ball got dropped due to, say, staff turnover, it’s never too late to get back up to date or enter historical data. “Longer-term data is so important,” shares Stephanie Filer of Shelter Animals Count. “It’s how we are able to look beyond just what’s happening right now. It allows us to ask, ‘How does what happened in 2021 compare to 2020, which we all know is an anomaly, and 2019?’ You don’t know how or what data you will need until later on, so make it a priority now.”

Can’t wait to submit some data? It just so happens that Shelter Animals Count’s 2022 Data Drive in onenter by January 14 for a chance at $21K in grants.

More Tips

Tip of the Week: These Are the People in Your Neighborhood…
Tip of the Week: This Question Can Change Everything
Tip of the Week: Early & Often

Photo: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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