Being surrounded by people who want to make a difference is one of the most rewarding aspects about working in the social sector. If we want to truly change lives and change circumstances for those in our communities, leaders must align their efforts through partnerships, networks, and collaborative efforts.
Collective Impact initiatives are a unique approach to solving complex social problems because they involve cross-sector collaboration and include a centralized infrastructure, shared strategy for measuring outcomes, and continuous communication between providers.
The ability to collect, measure, and share common outcome and impact measurement is at the core of the joint Collective Impact approach, yet collective impact practitioners report the lack of shared measurement capacity and infrastructure as the most significant challenges to achieving success. Often organizations struggle because the lack of technology or the technology that is used is not designed for collective impact. These approaches require more manual time and energy that busy nonprofit providers can afford to give. Using a secure, cloud-based shared measurement system, such as SureImpact, helps remove these barriers and facilitates a shared measurement system that helps you track and report outcomes, measure participant needs, improve data quality, and strengthen your social impact story.
Nonprofit providers are rightfully focused on serving their clients. Therefore, relying on manual and often cumbersome processes for shared measurement as part of collective impact efforts often cause measurement activities to move down on the priority list when facing more pressing service delivery needs. However, funders require data. A cloud-based shared measurement system can automate several of data collection tasks, giving staff more time to focus on things that are truly moving the needle. In addition, a shared measurement system can increase access and reduce barriers to obtaining services. This is great news for the people we serve.
Improved Data Quality
Lack of trust in shared data due to data quality issues is another commonly reported barrier to shared measurement in collective impact initiatives. A shared measurement system ensures providers are collecting all data elements required to better understand what efforts are moving the needle for underserved populations. For example, by improving the collection of individual demographic data and their outcomes, collective impact groups can better identify and understand gaps in equitable outcomes for specific segments of the population the initiative is intended to benefit.
Demonstrate Outcomes and Impact
Historically, social sector organizations have reported on outputs, such as the number of people served in your program. While this is important to measure, the number of people served in a program doesn’t necessarily equate to changing lives and circumstances. More and more funders and collaborators want to know your outcomes and impact story along with the number of individuals served. Mission-driven organizations are leaving money on the table because they are not managing to and measuring outcomes. A shared measurement system helps organizations collect data to better demonstrate impact to funders. Funders are much more likely to invest in organizations who can demonstrate their impact.
Steps to Move Towards Better Success
In our current COVID-19 reality, demonstrating impact becomes the answer to ensuring sustainability. Now is the time to implement a shared measurement system that enables you to share a powerful social impact story. Join us on April 29, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), for our webinar, “How to Use Your Impact Story to Ensure Sustainability.” Kerri Mollard, founder and CEO of Mollard Consulting, and Sheri Cheney Jones, president of Measurement Resources Company and SureImpact, Inc., will share insights and tools to navigate unprecedented times while helping to improve your impact story to position your organization for a more sustainable future. We hope you can join us.