3 Steps to Take Now for a More Data Driven 2020

By Maureen Coleman

If you are reading this, you already know that we live in a data driven world. Having access to actionable data has transformed virtually every sector -- and recently, we’ve seen a notable shift in the social impact sector, as more organizations put systems and processes in place to leverage data to drive impact.

At UpMetrics, we believe this shift presents enormous opportunity for the sector. Access to actionable data will empower organizations to gather insights, inform decision making, and more effectively tell their stories.

Using data to drive impact is no longer a “nice to have”. It is a necessity. During this annual season of reflection and resolutions, here are three steps you can take now so that you can lead your organization to be data driven in 2020.


1. Identify key organization-wide goals for the new year.


The work to be data driven begins with identifying your organization’s goals. Block out time and space to step back from your day-to-day work and dream boldly. Ask yourself:

  • What does your organization do that you are most proud of?
  • Who are the communities you are serving?
  • What excites you most about the year ahead?
  • What do you want to achieve in 2020? In the next 5 years?

One example of a goal for a youth development organization may be improving student academic success. An example for a workforce development organization might be to increase participant income levels.


Remember: goals don’t need to be complicated in order to be meaningful. Simple but precise language can help you more effectively communicate your vision to others and track progress over time.


2. Determine indicators to show progress towards those goals.


Once you have identified your goals, the next step is to list out indicators for each goal. Put simply, indicators are specific data points -- like a percentage or a headcount -- that allow you to track progress towards your goals.


Effective indicators for a goal should collectively help you better understand how well you are working towards that goal. It’s vital to gain insight into both what is excelling and what is struggling. Indicators for the previous example goal of “improving student academic success” could include Average Daily Attendance, Average GPA, test scores, or social emotional learning surveys.


Keep in mind that a goal often has multiple indicators. Some of your goals may only have 1 or 2 indicators, while other goals may have 5 or more. What’s most important is to get started, knowing that the indicators you use will likely evolve over time as you reflect and iterate.


3. Identify HOW you are going to collect the indicators you determined in Step #2.


The next step is to outline a game plan to collect the data that maps to your indicators. This data might come from data sources you’re already using, like a grants management system or a CRM. Certain data points might be collected in surveys administered to participants over the course of your program.


Or you might discover a gap where you are not currently collecting data that you want to be collecting. It’s OK if you don’t have a solution for this gap right away. UpMetrics can be a thought partner in this work, including accessing data from public data sources like census data or localized crime data.


This step involves details, but it doesn’t have to be complex. Chances are that you already have more data than you think! If you are struggling with where to start, a good approach is to review each indicator and determine if there are any data gaps. This will at least help you to identify gaps and inform what to do next.


2020 Vision

Defining what data you want to collect and how you will collect it before the new year will set you up to successfully aggregate that data in one place as you begin to gather new data in 2020. The UpMetrics platform makes it easy to analyze your data in one place so that you can track progress towards your goals and take action.


By taking these 3 steps going into 2020, you will be in a prime position to use data to inform decisions, allocate resources, and tell your story in the new year.


Learn more about UpMetrics and see the platform in action by requesting a demo

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