This weekend, I was thinking about how data can be used for good, and how data can be used for evil. So today, I thought I'd talk about how you can use graphs to understand your data in ways that build trust and understanding (good) or they can obscure the truth and promote stereotypes (evil).
I was meeting with a funder last week, and they were asking me to confirm they were making good data-driven insights. They were not feeling clear about exactly what an insight is. These are super smart and insightful people, so they can't be the only one wondering this. For all you co-wonderers - this blog's for you!
I'm being provocative - and - once someone leaves services you can no longer control what happens. The world is a complex and chaotic place. Your clients use what you gave them immediately, later, or (sadly) never. You have literally no control.
There are approximately a zillion more simple things you can do to boost response rates, improve the quality of your data, and ensure you are collecting data you can turn into action. Here are the three most important!
Corporations are focused on KPIs and profit because better KPIs result in higher profit. What does this mean for the nonprofits they invest in? How do nonprofits - who produce goodness not profit - speak to their corporate funders?
The scientific method just doesn't fit the budget, the mission, or the needs of nonprofits in the complex, day-to-day work of providing critical services. What the nonprofits I worked with needed was actionable data
I definitely believe we should all have the basic ability to be wise consumers of data, because there's a lot of bad and misleading data out there. But, I think it goes a step too far to say nonprofit leaders should be able to engage in "statistical thinking."
I had this wonderful opportunity to speak with Jay Smack on The Good Eye Podcast about the straightforward strategy I've developed that ensures nonprofits have data that helps them do work, and which communicates return on investment for funders - all this while being no more difficult to manage than a budget.
Impact Statements allow nonprofits to show why we can all reasonably assume clients working with you are on a path to longer-term change. [Funder: "Wonderful! It sounds like you have a solid and likely successful plan. I'm in!"]
When I was making a presentation last week, one of the nonprofit leaders in the group said "I'm realizing I'm not the only one not getting it right. It’s clearly a problem that smaller nonprofits have with measuring and talking about impact. Just hearing this is validating.”
This was Rose’s question for me: “How do I balance what's good for the clients, what funders are impressed by, what potential clients' (students and nonprofits) are impressed by, and what grants ask for when all this stuff doesn't line up?
The most effective corporate storytelling combines data, narrative, and visuals that draw people in by appealing to their intellectual curiosity and making them relate and care. But how do nonprofits do this?
“We used to just do ‘bean counting,’ how much of this and that we did. Now with the Strategic Impact Maps, we are able to actually track the impact of the work we do. It’s so much more informative and powerful!”
A Strategic Impact Map™ is a framework for telling your most powerful impact story. It’s a one-page document that tells an efficient story of, not only why and how your organization does good, but also how you are measuring it!
There’s a formula for telling a masterful impact story, one that captures the attention of funders and moves people to action. It all starts with being able to talk about programming that works. Here’s how to do it…
Watch this 30-minute free training on our ImpactStory strategy and how it can help your organization not only tell convincing impact stories, but how it can support staff performance and even strategic planning.