The Business of a Local Data Intermediary

Report by Sara McTarnaghan, Leah Hendey
October 12, 2017

Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)

Like many mission-driven organizations, local data intermediaries share the challenge of maintaining financial sustainability and their leaders must understand the mechanisms by which they can sustain their work. Borrowing from origins in the private sector, a business model is a way to organize operations and understand one’s clients, revenue, and value, and the streams and products that connect them. This brief collects the business experience of organizations in the National Neighborhood Indicator Partnership (NNIP), providing guidance in thinking about a business model for data intermediaries that are just starting, or that need to revisit their business models based on changing landscapes, such as new partners, activities, and technology. Key considerations and good practices are discussed on revenue streams, pricing of services, and proposal development. See the accompanying brief, “A Tool for Organizational Planning: The Business Model Canvas” for guidance on how to develop or refine a business model.

This brief was developed under the federally-supported "Community Health Data Project Services" project. The project team provided technical assistance for organizations seeking to serve as local data intermediaries and ultimately support institutions and residents in addressing racial inequities in quality of life and public health. The project team produced an additional brief titled "Lessons on Data Management Practices for Local Data Intermediaries" to encourage improved extract, transform, and load processes. 

Publisher Info:

Washington, DC: Urban Institute and the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership