The below is an excerpt from How to Make Data Actionable, published earlier this year. Don't miss Kaci speak further to successful collaboration and her experience with the Black Equity Collective in our webinar October 19th.
In June of this year UpMetrics developed and distributed a collaboration-themed survey to over 1,000 foundations and nonprofits. Our intention was to understand if nonprofits and foundations had the same understanding of key areas of collaboration like key performance indicators, the capacity levels of nonprofits to deliver on reporting, and expectations around what a successful collaborative initiative looks like. As we as a sector look to effective collaboration more and more as a powerful tool that will support our ability to tackle challenges in our communities today, it is imperative that all stakeholders are approaching the partnership with the same expectations and goals in order to see the expected positive change.
In February I had the pleasure of chatting with my friend and colleague Jessica Mindnich on a webinar that focused on the importance of shifting the funder-grantee relationship toward one that encourages continuous knowledge sharing between parties. This is a topic close to my heart as well as Jessica’s, who is the Senior Director of Evaluation, Learning and Impact Stories at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The truth is that trust-based relationships that prioritize collaboration and transparency are the only way we will be able to move the needle on some of the social issues that philanthropy, and the greater public, are looking to take on.
Trust is at the core of every effective professional relationship. As this research from the American Psychology Association points out, when both parties trust each other they can spend more time finding solutions to shared challenges and less time and energy worrying that their interests aren’t being reflected in decision-making.
What an inspiring #PEAKOnline2021conference. Congratulations to the PEAK board and host committee and especially to Satonya Fair whose leadership was embedded throughout every session and every conversation. Satonya has unleashed the PEAK community who dove deep on topics and brought PEAK’s many new members into the excitement. It was particularly inspiring to learn about the different ways the PEAK members are working to support their grant partners and the way they are championing to approach their work with an equity lens at their foundations.
We are at a crossroads in philanthropy, where access to data has increased in recent years but data capacity within impact organizations has not. As a result, only 50% of surveyed organizations are using the data available to them to inform their decision-making (Source). This fact presents a significant challenge to the ability of impact organizations to drive the level of positive change needed to tackle today’s complex issues.
The grantee reporting dilemma is not a new one - foundations rely heavily on grantees to understand whether their investments are making a positive impact in the areas that they wish to support. And yet many grantees do not have access to tools or resources in the area of data collection and analysis. This results in time and energy wasted on reporting requirements and process - time that could be spent focusing on the organization's mission and driving impact.
Major events cause significant stress to the community and can often trigger multi-sectoral collaboration work. Why? The work to provide the necessary services and relief to constituents in need is too great for a single person or organization to solve. We have seen a range of events in recent years, with the pandemic in 2020 and record-breaking natural disasters affecting the West with wildfires and the Southeast with hurricanes.