Program & Service Delivery

How Small Organizations Can Use Affordable ICT-tools to Measure Impact

October 15, 2014
What if nonprofits and social enterprises had an affordable way to report real-time, large-scale data on their social impact? This question inspired Kopernik to create the ‘impact tracker technologies’ catalog in online and print forms.

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s Kelly Fitzsimmons on a New Blueprint for Evaluation Plans

October 9, 2014
In a recent guest article, Michael D. Smith described the White House's Social Innovation Fund (SIF), which has developed a new program evaluation guide based on best practices. This Transparency Talk conducted an online interview with Kelly Fitzsimmons of The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) focuses on learning how the new framework provided by the Social Innovation Fund can be adapted for use in assessing foundation program impact.

Evidence = Funding: A new blueprint for evaluation plans

October 8, 2014
Tiered-evidence programs take the approach that there is a continuum of evidence, ranging from preliminary to strong, and that programs move along this continuum. The Social Innovation Fund, one of the first of these tiered evidence initiatives, is committed to investing in evidence and evaluation that help prove and improve promising models.

Outcomes Thinking: How to Measure Your Success

October 3, 2014
Performance management is the discipline of making good decisions with data; it is the foundation for outcomes management. Outcomes management is the science of managing to stewarding specific social results and helping you understand whether your programs and services are effectively contributing to your underlying mission. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Developing the Data Value Chain

September 24, 2014
Data is like crude oil. In and of itself it isn’t valuable. Only when you do you something with it does it create real value. Only when it goes through a process is value created from this raw resource. The problem is that when we talk about “data” we often confuse the thing (a raw resource that is not inherently valuable) and the value chain (“the power of big data”). This confusion can lead organizations to under-invest in the value chain and thus not see the results they hoped for.

Data Maturity: Where Does Your Nonprofit Stand?

September 22, 2014
We are all feeling the pressure to quantify our work. Donors want metrics, the board wants key performance indicators, our staff want clear and measurable goals. Increasingly, we are expected to be able to take the nuanced work we do in the community and package it up. The absolute focus on quantifiable measurements is harmful, but it is clear that in the right situation measurements are incredibly powerful tools.

Failing Forward: Why building failure into your organizational culture can make it more successful

September 19, 2014
Most people bristle at the sound of the “F” word. Failing is something to be ashamed of or something to use for deprecation (#FAIL, anyone?). But failing can be one of the most powerful tools your organization has to continuously innovate and improve its programs.

From Big Data to Big Insights: Using data science to transform your work

September 18, 2014
Ah data, that “black gold” that is now everywhere. In fact, many have pronounced that “data is the new oil,” yet we’re still struggling with how to harness its potential. Worse still, many people are struggling just to understand what it really means. All this information could be used to make more informed decisions, react more quickly to changes, and better understand our environments. However, while we are surrounded by more data than ever before, we need a way to extract meaning from all this bubblin crude. Enter data science!

The Equity Atlas: A data-driven conversation

September 17, 2014
The Regional Equity Atlas is a project that strives to ensure that everyone in the Portland metropolitan region benefits from the opportunities the region provides. Through the use of an online mapping tool, the Equity Atlas enables us to understand how well different neighborhoods and populations across the region are able to access the resources and opportunities necessary for meeting their basic needs and advancing their health and well-being. CLF initiated the original Regional Equity Atlas project in 2002 in response to its members’ assessment that equity and its relationship to sustainable development was not generally understood by the public and policymakers. It created the second iteration last year. NTEN’s Steph Routh caught up with Scotty Ellis to ask about how the region's non-profits are using the Atlas.

Are you Sending Mixed Messages to your Members?

September 16, 2014
Imagine this scenario: A supporter clicks the “donate” link in one of your emails and gives to your organization through the website. Afterward, the supporter tweets her support and gets an enthusiastic re-tweet from your organization’s Twitter handle. She also receives an automated gift acknowledgement email from your donation system, as well as a mailed “Thank You” letter from your development department the following month.  Through this seemingly simple interaction, the donor has touched your communications, IT, and development departments.