Share Your Data
Sharing your MDI data with others is a critical first step to improve outcomes for children. Sharing your reports raises awareness of the holistic nature of child well-being, increases opportunities for local dialogue, and encourages the use of a neutral, fact-based way to discuss the strengths and challenges present in your community.
This isn’t always an easy task – we know many people can be apprehensive about presenting data, or avoid doing so altogether.
But let us reassure you: You don’t need to have it all figured out before you present your data. In fact, the whole point is to make sense of your data together.
The Benefits of Sharing Data
- Inform those who support children daily
Give parents, teachers, and after-school activity instructors information they need to start making small changes today.
- Create data-informed school and community plans
MDI results can provide a critical backbone of information to ensure school and community plans are designed to best support children.
- Bring in support and build commitment
You don’t need to be the only keeper of data – bring in others to help you in your work and start building a network of champions.
- Support strategic action
Sharing MDI results means others in the community can make use of the data for their own fundraising, community development, and advocacy work.
- Demonstrate change over time
Sharing data as it is released each year can help those working to build healthy environments for children see where they stand: Have you seen assets increase or decrease? Do changes in well-being track with new initiatives or changed community circumstances?
- Learn more using data as a starting point
Sharing data necessarily prompts questions, and those questions lead to discovery. Remember, MDI data is just one piece of the pie – it’s essential to weave in the local knowledge held by your community to understand the full picture of well-being.
An appreciative approach leads to discovery
- What is your school or community doing well?
- What ideas emerge to improve and sustain these initiatives?
- What elements could you highlight to show a positive story happening at your school or community?
A traditional approach to change is to solve a problem. This often leads to presentations of data that focus on low or weak results. Yet the MDI was designed to uncover the strong, protective, and positive things in children’s lives that can build resilience and foster well-being.
When sharing your MDI data with others and engaging them in dialogue, take an appreciative approach. This will shift the focus from “what’s wrong” to recognizing the positive factors that already exist in the lives of children in order to strengthen, replicate, or expand them.
Reflecting on where efforts are already succeeding or making great strides can help ward off feelings of disappointment. Encouraging a vision for a future in which all children are thriving – a vision rich in detail – can ensure the focus remains on moving forward, not giving up. And thinking deeply about the places and times children do experience love, wonder, safety, and joy can stimulate new ideas to ensure environments support those feelings whenever possible.
Keep Listening to Children
The MDI was designed to offer children the opportunity to directly weigh in on the factors critical to their own success and well-being. But make sure their input doesn’t stop once the MDI is administered. Consider ways in which children and youth can be involved in understanding their own results and improving their own outcomes. Children can offer deeper insights into the MDI data and come up with creative solutions to improve their own and others’ well-being.
Make Use of Visuals and Local Data
Numbers don’t need to be boring – just ensure people can quickly grasp and fully connect with the data. The maps, summary indices, and infographics provided in the MDI report and slide decks can help make it easier for audiences to absorb and think critically about the data presented.
The neighbourhood-level maps and narrative summaries in particular provide visually appealing information that is specific to a local population of children. Presentations of these local results allow people to see how their neighbourhood and their children are doing, and imbues what might otherwise be dry numbers with personal meaning. Use these maps to get your audience to start talking about real places they know – have them “fill in” the maps with their own local knowledge.
Engage in Stories and Conversation
Data truly comes alive when people talk about it. First person narratives put a face, a human element, to the numbers and can be a powerful tool. Consider stories from children themselves about their lives, or your own stories about your experiences with the MDI and your motivations for championing children’s well-being.
Recording these stories in advance and sharing them alongside data can make a powerful combo. But don’t forget to encourage storytelling and personal reflection with your audience in the moment, too. Sharing your data should be conversational whenever possible.
Make Space for Feelings
It’s natural for emotions to come to the surface when your audience is fully engaged and motivated by their own passion for educating and caring for children. Be prepared for some of the following responses from participants:
- Surprise at some or all of the MDI results
- Frustration or disappointment if they feel their work isn’t moving the dial
- Feeling defensive or blamed
- Feeling overwhelmed at the volume or complexity of data
- Impatience and looking for immediate solutions
Make sure you leave time in your presentation to allow people to process the data and share their feelings. Encourage audience members to articulate how the results make them feel, and how those feelings can be harnessed to motivate continued action.
Get Started with These Tools
A one-page assistant to make sure you’re ready and guide you through your presentation.
Give participants space and time to think about why the results are the way they are.
Provide your audience with additional structure as they grow through the MDI Report.
MDI 101 Slide Deck explains the history of the MDI and its key concepts. Instructions are included for a few different activities to help engage the audience.
Two versions are available: one with a streamable video (requires internet access) and one without.
Use the activities included on Framing Worksheet to engage the audience.
MDI Data Slide Decks are built with your community’s data once each year, updated in the spring., including demographic information neighbourhood maps. The slides also contains instructions for several activities to help your audience dig into the data and begin thinking critically about MDI concepts.
Use the Exploring Data & Thinking Critically worksheets to help participants dig into the data.
The Ideas for Making Change Slide Deck is less about learning and more about process. It uses slides to guide and structure decisions about the focus for action, including details and first steps for those actions and interventions.