Nonprofits Benefit From Building the Capacity to Monitor and Evaluate Their Programs
Kristin Romens | October 24, 2018
Think about how baseball has been transformed over the past two decades. Thanks in part to the book Moneyball and technological advances in analytics, general managers and coaches started to deploy data-informed approaches to scouting players and sketching out winning strategies. That paid off for many teams, including the Oakland A’s, the Boston Red Sox, and the Chicago Cubs. Now consider the nonprofit sector: Increasingly, nonprofits must demonstrate the impact of their programs to attract and retain funding. Data play an integral role in informing and influencing an organization’s strategies, which, in turn, can lead to positive changes for the individuals and communities served. For example, an after-school program for youth at risk of academic failure can track and use data on early warning indicators, such as school suspensions, attendance rates, and grade point averages, to target interventions provided to students. The most high-performing organizations are adept at monitoring and assessing their services in this way, but many nonprofits struggle to deploy effective approaches to evaluating their programs and using data for improvement.