Technologies and Practices for Managing Outcomes: Lessons From Large Nonprofits
How does your organization know it is making a difference? It’s a tough question—especially for nonprofits that aren’t providing services to a specific set of clients—but one no organization can afford to ignore. The pressure to stay focused on outcomes is growing as funders and the general public have put more emphasis on transparency and the ability to see a transformative return on their investments. Many nonprofits have found themselves scrambling to develop a system that accurately captures outcomes and shares them with program teams and funders. The belief that other nonprofits have figured out an efficient and effective outcomes management system—including a robust set of software options—only adds to the pressure.
As part of a larger research project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we created a new report to demystify the outcomes management process and guide nonprofits through the questions they need to ask themselves as they consider the strategy and technology behind how they measure outcomes.
In six case studies of real world organizations, we show how each organization is developing its own unique approach to outcomes management—in fact, rather than discovering a clearly defined set of methods and powerful technologies, each organization chose to develop its system from scratch and adopt a wide range of software and database solutions, many as simple and accessible as a spreadsheet. Then we look at what your organization can learn from their processes.
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