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.
Investing in Your Monitoring and Evaluation System
Nonprofits know the importance of giving. In many cases, they rely on individual contributions to thrive. However, money alone is not enough to help nonprofits make a difference. A streamlined grants management process helps to measure impact and shows that money is being spent efficiently.
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.
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.
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.
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.