Introducing Quantum Impact’s Data Project

On International Women’s Day in 2017, Quantum Impact launched our Women in International Development Storytelling Project. Through this, we have collected dozens of vivid, sometimes funny, often painful, always inspiring stories from our colleagues around the world. Starting in January 2018, we’ll be sharing those stories through a broader DevEx awareness raising campaign. We think it’s time that our industry begins to address its own biases when it comes to its most critical asset -- it’s people.

But, as we collected these stories and talked to women and men and about the work that we were doing, we were asked one critical question, “Do you have data about this?”

And we welcome that question. Yes, stories are important. Researchers at Stanford have found that stories are remembered 22 times more frequently than statistics alone. Stories help us empathize. Stories give us a behind the scenes look into what someone was thinking or how they felt when something happened to them. In short, stories are amazing.

But, quantitative data and analysis is critical as well. Aggregated statistics help us demonstrate that the stories that people are so bravely sharing with us aren’t isolated incidents, but speak to patterns and trends. Analysis helps us to contextualize the stories that we’ve heard.

Together, Quantum Impact believes that the combination of stories and quantitative data can help the global impact space really shift the way that we speak about diversity and inclusion in our industry.

That’s why we’re excited to announce our second big initiative under our Evidence and Research arm. In August, we launched a collaboration with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) assistant professor of sociology, Michelle Sandhoff and graduate student Katelyn Denton to  collect and analyze data around diversity for Quantum Impact’s own data project. Our goal is simple: to demonstrate that diversity and inclusion is not a problem that just plagues some industries like tech, but affects us all.

To this end, we have cataloged more than 200  international development and social impact organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, start-ups and well-established organizations, government funded and not, large and small, single issue to cross-sectoral, etc.

For each of these organizations we are reviewing publicly available data to analyze the composition of the organization’s leadership teams and boards (if applicable) to see how diverse these teams are. We will then compare our industry against the diversity numbers other researchers have found for other sectors such as tech.

We will be releasing our preliminary findings during our Women in Development Campaign - in partnership with DevEx - in January.  If you are interested in making sure that your organization is part of our survey, please contact us at

You can also sign-up here to receive a copy of our findings and stay up to date with Quantum Impact’s other work.