Many small and medium-sized nonprofits simply don’t have the bandwidth to do everything they want. This tool includes a worksheet and >>
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Guide to Actionable Measurement is driven by three basic principles: 1) Measurement should be designed with a purpose in mind — to inform decisions and/or actions; 2) Do not measure everything but strive to measure what matters most; 3) Because the foundation’s work is organized by strategies, the data we gather help us learn and adapt our initiatives and approaches. This guide includes a results matrix, definitions of terms in our results hierarchy, and a set of measurement guidelines intended to shape internal decisions about depth, breadth, and rigor of measurement across grants and within strategies. The guide also highlights the good practices they aspire to follow to be good stewards and not increase the reporting burden faced by our grantees or distract from their work.
The Data Playbook section on communicating results breaks down tips on how to design your data visualization to tell a powerful story.
Robin Hood fights poverty in New York City. The goal is to make grant decisions to maximize poverty-fighting impact, much like a financial manager chooses investments to maximize profit. The metrics project described in this manuscript has been designed to create just such a scorecard, showing ratios that guide investment decisions as financial rates and giving grants to programs that yield high benefit-cost ratios. Grant-making decisions rely on the detailed expertise of program officers as well as numerical calculations. Metrics are always under revision, a virtually never-ending project.
Leaders of organizations in the social sector are under growing pressure to demonstrate their impacts on pressing societal problems such as global poverty. This Social Enterprise Initiative, Harvard Business School working paper reviews the debates around performance and impact, drawing on three literatures: strategic philanthropy, nonprofit management, and international development. We then develop a contingency framework for measuring results, suggesting that some organizations should measure long-term impacts, while others should focus on shorter-term outputs and outcomes. In closing, we discuss the implications of our analysis for future research on performance management.
This Partnerships for Strategic Impact document breaks down how to talk to funders about ROI in two ways: 1) Understanding what data can and cannot tell you, and 2) Making data-informed, value-driven funding decisions.
This is an AMAZING book, well researched, easy to read, about why you should combine data and narratives, and some strategies for doing just that. WARNING: The book is written for data scientists and the author, the wonderful Brent Dykes, spends the first half of the book helping them understand why they should use data inside a story and with personal narratives - rather than just presenting a bunch of numbers! As a nonprofit leader, you might want to start at Chapter 4 (all the chapters are described in the link). I incorporate a lot of Brent's work ImpactStory™ Group Coaching.