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What do your organization’s finances say about your values?

In a recent blog post, Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community asked the question, “How are your organization’s values reflected in your financial practices?” Many organizations view budgeting and other forms of financial planning as necessary evils. When they are, in fact, critical tools. An essential key to providing the superior services needed to address complex problems for both individuals and communities is the strategic utilization of financial resources. A task that requires a concrete understanding of where needs exist and how they are best addressed.

According to a Columbus CEO article by SureImpact CEO Sheri Chaney Jones, “For too long, our society has invested in public policy and nonprofits with our hearts instead of our heads.”

The tendency to make decisions based on emotion or tradition instead of solid data leads to missed opportunities and inequitable outcomes. Many nonprofit and other service providers distribute their resources equally among their clients. Though well intentioned, this method leads to further inequality. Distinct individuals face unique challenges and require different levels of support. Treating them equally often means that one individual may have access to more than they need while another misses out on the resources required for them to live a successful life. Instead of equal treatment, the goal should always be equitable treatment.

Equitable services are the most efficient and effective way to address complex needs. However, achieving a truly equitable outcome requires an understanding of both the needs that exist and the ongoing utilization of resources. This understanding comes from the collection and analysis of ethical data.

A transparent view of individual and community needs, combined with an awareness of available resources, allows service providers to make strategic choices when addressing challenges. When this transparency is ongoing, it provides nonprofits the invaluable opportunity to assess the impact they are making and make adjustments as necessary. Blindly distributing resources with no ability to measure success leads to inefficient, and sometimes ineffective, outcomes.

Many organizations believe they lack the capacity to both track and analyze the ethical data necessary to make the best decisions for their clients and their communities. They may even falsely believe their limited resources are best spent on serving their clients instead of entering data. The truth is that technology has the potential to increase an organization’s productivity, rather than detract from it. Tools such as SureImpact provide nonprofits the ability to quickly and accurately assess complex problems and individual needs, allowing them to measure and manage their impact in a way that creates equitable outcomes for their clients.

In addition, the ability to articulate your organization’s social impact is a powerful way to engage stakeholders and funders. By demonstrating the degree to which you are able to deliver impactful, equitable, and cost-effective solutions to complex social problems, funders and other stakeholders will become more invested in your cause than ever before.

In October 2021, SureImpact released a new set of reporting tools that allow organizations the transparency to quickly understand the needs of specific demographic groups, such as race or gender identity. These tools allow nonprofits to ensure that they are equitably addressing the needs of the most vulnerable members of their community.

To learn more, check out this quick video on how SureImpact’s Advanced Analytics helps you view individual and program outcomes with an equity lens.

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