3 Tips for Collecting Impact Data
Telling your donors that you’ve made progress toward achieving your mission is one thing, but showing how you’ve accomplished this using specific figures and details does a better job of painting that picture. This is where tracking your progress with data comes into play.
Here are three tips for collecting impact data.
1. Differentiate ‘Outcome’ and ‘Output'
Your output may simply be how many people your nonprofit serves, how much food you’ve distributed to the community or how many pets your organization rescued. Without context for the output, the outcome — and the impact toward your mission — is not clear.
“For example, if a soup kitchen serves 300 meals a day, their output is those meals,” Kayla Matthews, a NonProfit PRO contributor, wrote in an article about impact report improvement. “But the outcome — and its success — depends on the soup kitchen's goals. Was the only objective providing meals to feed people? If so, the outcome was positive. But if the goal was to help homeless people stop using opioids, the meals are one step toward reaching that.”
2. Collect Quality Data
There is so much potential data your organization could track, so ensure you’re focused on tracking data that will help show your nonprofit’s impact effectively. In other words, don’t measure everything.
“You can over-collect and over-analyze, and you and your team will simply become overwhelmed,” Laura Zumdahl, president and CEO of New Moms, said in a NonProfit PRO post about using data to show impact. “When we have too much, we lose sight of what really matters and waste our precious capacity on the wrong things.”
- Track data consistently.
- Track data in a single location.
- Train employees.
3. Provide Data to Funders for Storytelling
LaveMaeX shared its data with funders, not just to show impact to continue the funding, but so the funders could share that impact with their audiences as well.
“Working with the company in this way allowed us to showcase the issue, our own work, and our network’s activities far more robustly than we could have on our own,” Kris Kepler, the nonprofit’s CEO, wrote earlier this year in a NonProfit PRO post about accelerating impact with corporate partnerships.
Upcoming Webinar on Impact Data
For more information, join NonProfit PRO’s webinar, “How to Maximize Impact With an Integrated Data Solution,” 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on Nov. 14. In this webinar sponsored by Bonterra, nonprofit Project Quest will share how the organization empowers its staff to capture the right data and easily use that data to create both staff scorecards and funder impact reports in order to obtain more funding.
Sign up here to join us live or receive notification when the recording is available on demand.