How much do you know about the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s programs? If your organization mentors students, do you know how many of them go on to graduate high school and college? If you work to supply affordable housing, do you know the percent of the target population without access to those resources? Numbers like these can help organizations measure the current effectiveness of programs and identify areas for improvement.
With that in mind, the always-helpful people at Idealware researched and wrote a brand new report, Understanding Software for Program Evaluation that provides a comprehensive overview of the strategies and software that will help you collect, measure, and monitor the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s programs.
They have identified five parts of a technology-based program evaluation strategy that—when combined—will be your key to topnotch program evaluation.
Central Hub of Program Data
The foundation for your evaluation strategy is the central hub for your program data—this is where the information from all the data you’ve collected or sourced and the findings you’ve analyzed from that data can be tracked and reported on in one place.
Proactive Data Gathering
This includes all the program data you need to actively collect, like survey results, text messages from constituents, or handwritten notes from your staff.
Auxiliary Data Systems
While it’s almost always preferable to store all your program data together, there are certain instances where data is too complicated or too distinct to store in your Central Hub. In those instances, it may make more sense to use a specialized tool, like a Learning Management System or Scientific Data Monitoring System, or to build your own solution using a Custom Database.
Pulling Existing Data
This includes the information that can be collected from public sources, such as what people are saying about your organization or services on social media, as well as public data from government agencies that can provide background information to add context to what you’ve already learned.
Reporting & Visualizing
Once you have all your data, you need to make sense of it—this piece involves using Custom Reporting Tools and Statistical Analysis Systems to help you identify trends about your programs, and Data Visualization to present your findings to grantmakers, donors, or other stakeholders.
Download the full report for more on these strategy tips, plus software recommendations.