As the philanthropic sector continues to grow and evolve, there is an increasing need for accurate and reliable impact measurement. Impact measurement refers to the process of evaluating the effectiveness of philanthropic programs, initiatives and interventions. This helps organizations determine whether they are meeting their intended goals and delivering the intended benefits to their target beneficiaries.
In recent years, leaders across the philanthropic sector have recognized and worked to shift power imbalances that exist between funders, nonprofits, and the communities that they serve. This work - called trust-based philanthropy - requires addressing deep-seated inequities at their root and implementing real changes to the structures, organizations, cultures, and norms within which so many philanthropic organizations operate.
Chances are you’ve heard this common question asked in business, academia, and scientific research settings: "What is the data telling you?"
There’s a good reason why — it reflects how data contains a treasure trove of insights and wisdom that could help drive effective, profitable decisions. However, the problem is that most people have difficulty reading and interpreting raw data.
The human mind is programmed to remember and respond to stories. For thousands of years, our minds have used stories to understand the world around us and share our experiences. Today, stories are a means of entertainment, a source of inspiration, and a method of connecting with one another in more deep and meaningful ways.
Whether you’re an international business or a local nonprofit, all organizations must take calculated risks to maximize their impact and achieve their goals. When it comes to the hard work you’ve put in to build your organization, would you simply roll the dice? Or would you make informed, strategic decisions?
One of the things I love most about UpMetrics is that our values are not just words on a website – they actively guide our decision-making and our partnerships with other impact organizations.
Two of those values – Reflect & Improve and Client Focused – are top of mind as we pilot, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, two Impact Data Fellows to strengthen the data collection and analysis capabilities of a cohort of nonprofit organizations.
A few years back I transitioned from my role leading athletics and after school programs for Green Dot Public Schools to help build what is now UpMetrics. You know, the ol’ PE teacher goes and helps build an impact tech company story… :) I laugh even typing that, but it’s real!
Now, well into the UpMetrics journey we consistently are focusing on improving our work and tending to the culture and vibe of this company while growing our client base and partnerships. It’s been a whirlwind. Check that—a legit, fun, inspiring, umm…whirlwind!
One of the biggest decisions researchers make is deciding between a qualitative or quantitative approach. At UpMetrics, we feel that this is actually the wrong question to ask — especially when it comes to measuring impact and the way nonprofit organizations use data. We say this because either method will only give you a partial view of the problem. To get the whole picture, you need data from both.
Qualitative data methods allow you to deep dive into the mindset of your audience to discover areas for growth, development, and improvement.
In many of my recent conversations with investors, I have been struck by some consistent themes that continue to come up as it relates to our vision for more effective impact measurement and management. The good news is that there is clear consensus, and that most investors share the view that a more transparent and collaborative impact investing ecosystem is what is needed to move capital to high-impact opportunities to ultimately drive positive change. There is also consensus as it relates to the obstacles that we will face to achieve this vision, and as such, some question around how we can work together to make this vision a reality. Here are the opportunities and associated challenges that I continue to hear from investors when it comes to more effective and efficient impact measurement and management.