Creating a Data Driven and Healthy Organization

What do Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) and organizational culture have in common?  Creating a data-driven decision making organization requires intentionality, which includes creating a healthy organizational culture.  ECB, as defined by my mentor, Dr. Jean King of the University of Minnesota and founder of MESI (Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute), involves the design and implementation of teaching and learning strategies to help individuals, groups and organizations learn about what constitutes effective, useful and professional evaluation practice.  The goal of ECB and our evaluation work at Strategic Consulting and Coaching (SCC) is to strengthen a nonprofit’s efforts to both measure and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement in order to advance your mission. Nonprofit organizations have many stakeholders and must provide answers to critical accountability measures as well as reflect what’s happened in people’s lives.  What did the client/participant survey tell you about service delivery hours, operations and activities?  Do you regularly check in with community partners as part of the program assessment?  How did your collective work contribute to the individual, family or community being able to make changes?

Organizational leaders must foster a culture of learning, curiosity, openness and trust For ECB to have the greatest impact. Everything won’t be perfect - services models will need to be adapted as a result of what was learned from data collected.

Leaders need to champion the value and benefits of evaluation practice from the board to service delivery staff.  The importance of shared learnings and the organization’s ongoing desire to make changes that best help program participants (clients) cannot be overemphasized. Program delivery staff must have the financial and human resources as well permission from leadership to make important changes as a result of the findings.

Do you need to change the hours or add additional language capabilities?  What did the unintended outcomes tell us about the impact of our service delivery model?  Was the funding used effectively and efficiently? What did the program participants’ stories tell us?  Were the individuals we served able to access and benefit from our work?  How did the results advance the organizational mission?

Leaders: tell us what has worked in your organization.   What have been your ECB successes and challenges?  Would you like to learn more about hands-on, practical and affordable evaluation capacity building for your organization?  Please see the attached ECB Checklist to see how your organization measures up.  Fall is back to school time so there is no better strengthen your organization’s learnings.