NNIP Partners are local data intermediaries - they act as mediators between data and local stakeholders - nonprofit organizations, governments, foundations, and residents. They are data translators, educators, conveners, collaborators, and voices for change. They use data to describe their communities, and they empower communities to use data in their activities, from community building, to advocacy and program planning, to policymaking. They aim to be a permanent, ongoing part of the community information system.
As local data intermediaries, NNIP partners:
- Assemble, transform, and maintain data
- Disseminate information and apply the data to achieve impact
- Use data to strengthen civic capacity and governance.
For more details on the activities that NNIP partners take on please see chapter 2 of NNIP's Guide to Starting a Local Data Intermediary.
There is no one model for a NNIP Partner - they vary significantly in institutional structure, number of staff, geographic focus, and funding sources, but they are all committed to the mission of NNIP.
Institutions: NNIP partner organizations are a diverse mix of institutional structures (percent of partner organizations in parentheses).:
- Nonprofit Organizations (28%)
- University/Research Centers (41%)
- Partnerships of multiple organizations (16%)
- Community/Local Foundations (9%)
- Regional/Local Government Agency (3%)
- Social enterprise (3%)
Six partners are made up of formal partnerships between organizations, but all partners collaborate informally with other local organizations. For a list of each partner's year of entry and institutional arrangements, see our Institutional Inventory. Many of the institutions have periodically completed organizational planning processes to refine their mission and activities.
Staffing: Staff at NNIP local organizations fill a mix of roles requiring management, technical, research, and community organizing skills. Although many of the partners have a mix of full-time and part-time staff members dedicated to NNIP work, staff full-time equivalents (FTEs) fall into tighter distribution. According to our Fall 2014 Survey, most partners (the middle 50 percent) have between two and five staff FTEs, with a median of 3 FTE. Not surprisingly, partners in the top 25 percent of NNIP-related budgets are all contained within the top 25 percent of staff FTEs but there were no clear patterns in relationships between staff size and organizational type or city size. To assist other partners in recruiting new staff, we have collected sample position descriptions over the years.
Funding: Our partners are locally self-sustaining and operate at a wide range of funding levels. A 2014 survey of 29 NNIP partner organizations showed an average annual budget for data and information services of $365,000, ranging from $90,000 to $2.3 million.