In order for our communities to thrive, we must address complex issues such as housing, health care, education, workforce development, public safety, arts, and culture. Yet our current situation with COVID-19 has decreased the amount of available funding for these critical programs. Despite this reality, the future is not necessarily bleak for social sector organizations who are able to confidently communicate the impact of their programs on the community. The key to success is developing a high-performing measurement culture within your organization with real-time data that enables you to analyze your performance, improve the quality of your programs, and communicate your overall impact to funders.
Social sector leaders who are devoted to developing high-performance measurement cultures integrate a continuous cycle of learning and feedback into their organizations’ workflows. Leaders who have cultivated a high-performance learning culture apply their learnings as they work to improve programs and services over time, which empowers them to make better use of resources and achieve even greater outcomes on behalf of their participants.
But while many organizations have the desire to develop high-performing cultures, they often feel they lack the resources needed to have dedicated full-time team members whose responsibility it is to put performance measurement into practice and to regularly monitor organizational metrics. They also lack the availability of real-time data to improve the quality of their programs. Before tackling these barriers to success, it helps to understand the conditions that are required for advancing high-performance cultures.
Required Conditions for High-Performing Cultures to Thrive
First, the organization must be discerning when selecting the various types of data to track, measure, and communicate, which will result in the organization’s ability to create the most value possible. This step requires focusing on outcomes, rather than outputs. Some important questions leaders should ask themselves include:
What quantifiable and socially desirable changes will occur as a result of a particular programmatic or organization effort?
How will behavior changed, knowledge increase, the community be strengthened, and quality of life enhanced? How will my organization and its programmatic effort fulfill its stated mission?
Once the measures have been established, the organization must then ensure that this data is easily accessible, that reporting is conducted in a timely manner, and that it is aligned with the organization’s mission and strategic plan. This allows social sector leaders to root all of their decision-making using a data-driven approach. Additionally, the organization must have the ability to easily extract and analyze the data so that customized, ad hoc reports can be generated to support grant writing and development efforts, among other analytic activities that illustrate current needs, success rates, etc.
Successful social sector leaders also place a premium on establishing processes and the expectation that these activities recur consistently, to ensure that the organization maintains business continuity, regardless of staff turnover or transitions into different roles within the organization. It is only through consistent reporting that the organization can adequately apply key performance and outcome data to continually drive change for increased impact. With these conditions in place—having the measurement of the right data to fuel a high-performance measurement culture that is based on a continuous cycle of learning and feedback—organizations can more easily achieve increased revenues, efficiencies of scale, and improve their overall social impact.
How to Overcome Barriers to Creating High-Performing Cultures
SureImpact helps social sector organizations identify the best measures, regularly track and monitor metrics, and makes real-time data available to improve the quality of their services and programs. As a result, the organizations SureImpact works with can develop high-performing cultures that are focused on consistently using data to drive strategic decisions. By using measures that are aligned with their mission, organizations can use data at every crossroad to continuously improve mission impact and organizational outcomes. This data-driven approach positions our clients to significantly increase their revenues, achieve more with their existing resources, and clearly demonstrate impact to funders and other stakeholders.
Because SureImpact is specifically designed for the social sector, our cloud-based solution empowers organizations by providing a framework for developing measures that tell the organization’s story and communicate their impact in the community. From communicating to donors and funders to understanding the factors that produce the best outcomes for your organization’s participants, SureImpact can help you with ongoing measurement, which provides the basis needed for continuous learning and feedback.
If you are interested in discovering how you can make continuous improvements to your services and programs so that you can achieve even greater mission success, our team members are eager to have a conversation with you. Please contact us today to schedule a call.