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.
What can you do with better insights?
It is hard to believe it has been a full year since we reflected on 2020 – the year that threw the world into upheaval and refocused priorities for all of us. At that time, UpMetrics CEO Drew Payne stressed the importance of the sector coming together to drive the level of change required in this blog post Data Alone Won’t Drive the Change We Need. While 2021 has been another year of grappling with the unexpected, philanthropy met these changes with changes of their own to support positive impact in areas it was needed.
As the world searches for solutions to take on social and environment issues at scale, a new era of impact has arrived.
Investing in Your Monitoring and Evaluation System
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.
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.
April is volunteer month, and before it comes to an end I wanted to take the opportunity to call out the importance of giving a voice to your volunteers and, by extension, your community. At UpMetrics, we often speak to the power of qualitative data. Numbers can only provide so much information – to translate those numbers into desired action, next steps, and a strategy that will impact the areas with the most need, you need qualitative data. Those on the ground can tell you whether they are seeing an impact of your efforts with the audience you intended, or if you’re indirectly solving for something else with your efforts.
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.
Whenever we meet with potential clients across the social sector and the subject of data comes up, we are inevitably faced with one of two realities. The first, and most common, is that our partners have a lot of data but it lives in disparate systems making it very difficult for them to use this information to drive decision making. In this instance, we work with our partners to centralize their data into the UpMetrics platform so they can start to analyze and learn from this information. The other potential reality is that our partners have data gaps, and need help thinking through how to efficiently fill those gaps so they can effectively understand and report their impact. Luckily the UpMetrics platform can be helpful in this scenario as well. Here are three ways that the UpMetrics platform can help your organization address and fill data gaps.