you don’t have to rely heavily on consultants. This not only saves money in the long run, but helps empower your staff and gives them leadership opportunities, which will build ownership and investment, pushing your organization to the next level. Building the capacity of your nonprofit from within also helps strengthen your organizational culture. Using Data to Attract Funding Before getting to the nuts and bolts, let’s go back to our purpose: How can you use evaluation to become more attractive to funders and donors? This evaluation cycle will make your case for funding compelling all through the use of data. Assessment The Assessment Phase sets the stage for a successful evaluation. Take a closer look at how your mission and vision relate to your desired outcomes.This is often done through conducting logic models which help you figure out what your inputs, outputs and Many organizations skip this step.They think they already know what their organizations do and how they do it. Taking the time to write out your organization’s needs, goals and wants will ensure you have a vision that matches up with what you are measuring. Design: In the Design Phase , organizations set a clear evaluation agenda describing how things will be measured, including methodology, measurement tools, and databases. It also includes how you will implement the evaluation, team members’ roles and responsibilities, and what type of results you will be focusing on and how you will share them. LessonTwo With data being so trendy now, people often think they need to use the fanciest technology and advanced methods. We suggest organizations new to evaluation should start off with something more basic. If you’re making a real impact, it doesn’t always matter that you have the most complex 3D graphs. Implementation: The Implementation Phase is often the longest and most draining phase of an evaluation. Collecting data, conducting interviews, entering surveys, and transcribing focus groups takes a lot of time and energy. outcomes are. Lesson One
It also includes checking in and making sure timelines are being met and data is collected correctly. LessonThree Organizations often forget to check in regularly to see how the data collection is coming along. Sometimes you must pivot or change the direction of an evaluation to ensure you get the best and most ethical data possible. You can only do this by making sure you have benchmarks set up for continuous improvement. Analysis: In the Analysis Phase , you take the data you collected and turn it into something useful. Analysis includes crunching the numbers and presenting that information to the world. Clear and strategic storytelling is key to making sure that your data is received the way you want it to be. Lesson Four Audience: Data presentation should be based on who is reading it. While a Board of Directors may find a 20-page report important, individual donors don’t have time for a document like that, so create one-page snapshots or easy on the eyes infographics. In determining what a nonprofit needs to know to make itself more attractive to donors/ foundations, the key is to authentically shift the mindset of your organization to become data-driven. To do that, you first need commitment and capacity within your organization, then implementation of a thoughtful and strategic evaluation. This will make your case for funding and showcase your true impact in making a difference in the communities and people you serve. Amanda Babine is the Director of Evaluate for Change, a program evaluation company training nonprofits in implementing evaluation. She has worked in the nonprofit field in direct practice and research, including evaluating citywide programs with Columbia University and the City University of New York, and at the Center for the Study of Social Policy, developing a youth well-being framework while conducting Participatory Action Research (PAR) with marginalized communities throughout New York City. Hannah Jacobson is an Evaluation Trainer at Evaluate for Change, focused on creating and delivering curriculum around evaluation for educational professionals; a special education Math teacher; and a fellow at the Urban Teacher Center. Her passion is measuring student success through a variety of evaluation measures.
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