3- Monitoring and Evaluation & Impact Reporting for Nonprofits and Social Enterprise

– Is you’re monitoring
and evaluation system working for you? Are you able to provide impact
reports and grant reports to funders on time? Do you have data sitting
across multiple systems that increases the total
time it takes for you to build impact reports? Hi everyone, my name is Chris Gaines, lead trainer at SoPact and if you are a nonprofit
or social enterprise struggling to raise much-needed
capital or impact funds, you are in the right place. Today we’re diving into
the biggest challenges of collecting data and
creating impact reports. Our goal is to turn this challenge into the biggest opportunity
that organizations ignore, raising grants or impact capital. While many social enterprises
and nonprofits collect data, most of it isn’t utilized
or even really actionable. A well-designed data strategy can increase your accountability, making it much easier for
continuous learning, improvement and direct reporting of
impact to a specific funder. Keep in mind most monitoring
and evaluation systems fail to provide a scaleable
solution to aggregating results on a daily basis. And if they do, it might require
significant customization. In our last video, we gave insights into actually collecting
data for your ventures. You can find that video in
the description link below. This video will explain the key challenges of the existing systems as well as look into potential solutions that we’ll explore in
depth in later videos. So, don’t forget to smash
that like button and subscribe so you don’t miss any of the new videos that we’re releasing very soon. Without further ado, let’s jump into seven of the biggest challenges you’ll face when developing your reports
for potential funders. Challenge number one, your data
collection does not keep up with the funders required
reporting methods. Mission driven organizations often grow their data collection
strategies organically as their programs and their funders align. In most organizations,
data collection evolves in an ad hoc fashion, making
it difficult to streamline funder specific reporting
hence most of them export data on a spreadsheet, clean it up and then prepare it for reporting. However, there can be
many specific challenges with this approach. It’s a lack of consistency in reporting, data collection is not consistent
nor aligned to funders, data aggregation for
reporting is time consuming, relying on external data
analytics tools like Tableau or Power BI can significantly
increase your time and require special skills to utilize. Often theory of change, data
collection and reporting aren’t aligned which makes
continuous improvement and learning a pipe dream. Number two, activity and
output driven reporting is not impactful. The key factor is that
in order to successfully acquire impact capital, you
need to accurately demonstrate evidence of your impact. An effective report will require you to demonstrate evidence of
impact or social outcome. Often today’s monitoring
and evaluation tools focus on activity and
output based reporting. Many organizations start
with long household surveys which often fail to
collect on the key outcome that aligns with their theory of change. We need a system that
focuses on the core aspects of impact management and outcomes that align towards programmed goals. This can be achieved through
a better theory of change, outcome and stakeholder
survey with well-designed qualitative and quantitative
stakeholder feedback. Number three, data
collection and aggregation is time consuming. As an organization adds new programs, the reporting system becomes
challenging and isolated. For example, for homelessness,
a government funder may insist on using the HMIS system, social services systems
may insist on using case management systems and
others may choose to customize sales force based program management or effort to outcome systems. While these systems might
manage program data, often the reporting tends
to be fairly limited and does not align well with
funders reporting requirements hence an organization will often hire an monitoring an evaluation specialist who will export the data
from multiple systems, manually cleanse it in
an often complex, tedious and error-prone spreadsheet
and prevent anyone from deriving good insights
into continuous learning and improvements through that data. The powerful solution to this situation involves collecting data
in a single repository, transitioning paper or spreadsheet to a mobile based data collection, incorporating real time data as well as intelligent field mapping. Number four, what’s worse than time insensitive data collection? Low quality data. Today a large number of organizations still rely on spreadsheets
to collect all of the data. Even today, a lot of
organizations rely on spreadsheets to present their results. In fact, many organizations
transfer their information from paper to spreadsheets. This process not only
results in wasted time, it also reduces the amount
of actionable information that you can have at any one point. This becomes a challenge
when you have variations in reporting quality and
transcription quality. Number five, online or
mobile data collection often lacks a 360 degree view
of the program’s results. While there are hundreds
of online and offline data collection tools available, their built-in analytics
often only give information at the question level which
lacks the important analysis to compare multiple variations
in village, race, location over a period of time. In this situation, were left
with limited intelligence and once again, a lack
of continuous learning and improvement for our programs. Number six, Excel and Google spreadsheets. As different programs may
use more than one system. Most organizations try to
bring all their data into Excel or Google spreadsheets and
carefully reformat data regularly so that they can calculate
results required by funders. As you can imagine, this can create quite a few different problems when you’re working in
different situations. Your data gets unmanageable,
your data’s integrity is constantly at risk,
required to recreate or recheck formulas every
time new data is introduced. This also puts you at an
extreme risk of staff turnover. Number seven, Salesforce. Many systems such as
Salesforce or Case Management collect a lot of data but
building the specific reports that you need might be quite challenging. It can be difficult to combine
data from multiple tables. Report building within
their given interface can be quite complex. You’ll especially run into problems if reporting for agreed-upon metrics comes from multiple external sources. You’ll also run into potential problems if you need to vary the
frequency of reporting between monthly, quarterly or annually. While systems such as
Salesforce can be quite robust, it can often, can be difficult
to summarize your results. Often, funders also require
qualitative information that will not be easily
processed by a Salesforce. This will significantly increase
the reporting time as well. Here at SoPact, we
understand that organizations just like yours faced challenges
like this on a daily basis so we’ve developed a platform
that streamlines the process of impact management. Impact Cloud simplifies
the different forms of data collection and aggregation through a smart field mapping, real-time and mobile integration and database level formulas. This simplifies your data
collection, tracking and reporting through a simple system
so that you can move from here to here. Well, thanks for watching everyone. I hope you learned something
new and I’m curious, what challenges is your
organization currently facing when it comes to data
collection and evaluation? So, please drop a comment down below and let’s start a discussion
so that everyone can share and grow in this space. And as always, for more
information, go to sopact.com to download your free ebook
on monitoring and valuation so you can dive further into the subject and learn more about how you
can apply these principles to what your organization
is looking to accomplish. Lastly, don’t forget to like and subscribe so you never miss an upload and until then, this
has been Chris Gaines. I’ll see you in the next one. (upbeat music)

  1. Is your monitoring and evaluation system working for you? Are you able to provide impact reports or grant reports to funders on time? Do you have data sitting in many systems that take a long time to build impact reports? Most monitoring and evaluation systems fail to provide scalable solutions to aggregate results on a regular basis. If they do it may require significant customizations or manual data aggregation.
    Learn more details at: https://www.sopact.com/impact-data-measurement

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