You’ve finally reached a point of increasing growth and the need to seriously measure your impact and progress. Step 5 will guide you to improving your measurement and evaluation process in the hopes to scale your organization for the future. Let’s start:
You’re on this page because you’ve answered “No” to either one of these questions:
- Do you know what critics would say or have said about your organization’s mission?
- Do you know how to judge your ideas impact and success through a measurable standard?
Here are additional questions you should be asking yourself:
- How would each stakeholder of your organization measure your organization’s progress and success?
- Do you have an existing system put in place to record, measure, & assess your organization’s services/programs/work?
- Do you know where you want your organization to be in the next 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years?
Organization X successfully achieved “The Future 100 Campaign” by strategically using the time/skills of volunteers and probono professionals aligned with the organization’s top #3 goals. Having fully launched and moving closer to achieving the organization’s mission, the founder now needs to keep track of all the progress to see what’s working and what’s not working to make changes for the organization’s future. Committed to improving the relationship with the beneficiaries and stakeholders, the founder puts out a survey to gage how successful the organization is performing to the standards of each stakeholder. The founder discovers through this survey that the organization’s major donors often feel left out of the in-the-field news of the organization’s work and that the volunteers feel unappreciated at times. To resolve this issue, the founder responds to this news by assessing the past several month’s documentation and data to synthesize into an interactive bi-annual report.
While putting the bi-annual report together the founder and organization discovers that their data isn’t as sophisticated as they had originally assumed. To resolve this issue, the team chooses 5 major data categories that would best measure the organization’s success. In the next several months, the organization focuses on these 5 data categories by collecting and assessing it each month. To their pleasant surprise, this also helped the organization shift their communication to the stakeholders that made them feel more engaged with the in-the-field progress. Based on these categories, the organization has made more focused goals for their organization to successfully scale.
#1 Lesson––Lean Nonprofit Data will help you determine which data to collect, confirm data points, and present data in a way for people to understand easily.
(Task: Read In a Lean Nonprofit, Data is King)
#2 Activity––How often are you collecting data, assessing data, and responding to the data?
(Task: Read Beth Kanter’s post on nonprofit use of data and identify your organization as either Crawl, Walk, Run, or Fly from the article)
#3 Activity––Drawing parallels from Lesson #1, grab a piece of paper and list out all the possible data your organization could collect. Prioritize this list of different categories of data from most significant indication of organizational success (your mission) to the least significant.
You should probably give us a call, if you’ve gotten this far! We’d love to see how we can continue to help you and hear your story of applying business acumen into your organization. We want to provide additional tools and your feedback will help us develop these tools specific to your needs!