Data Journey: From Data Collection to Storytelling
January 5, 2019
While many donors demand outcome results continue to increase, there are no established guidelines on how to aggregate program outcomes and successfully tell storytelling. Often time, grantees respond by long narratives, full of stories of selected beneficiaries. While this approach may work between grantor and grantee who have developed a personal relationship, this approach simply does not improve trust between them.
Agree on the outcome: Funders & grantees/ investee should agree on common issues, indicators, and data collection and results from the process.
Often a non-profit, social enterprise or agency works with the beneficiary to improve social impact. While each organization may have their internal mechanism for collecting data, to aggregate outcome required by funders, often data enrichment may be needed within a different system. Our new AIM Guidebook 3 provides a detailed step by step approach to data strategy from the ground up. Once current data capacity is identified, often there are two immediate decisions to be made.
While data required to collect results (outcome or output) requires a systematic analysis of all the existing data sources. Once all the data sources are identified, a next step is to see if these are new results that require beneficiary feedback, beneficiary services tracking, operation, financial or other results. Based on the analysis, you can put together a process to collect result using survey or modify existing systems with necessary field enrichment.
Field data is perhaps the most critical element of data journey as it has the most important ability to tell stories, such as,
1. Data necessary to identify outcome
2. Data necessary to collect program/services outputs
3. Program effectiveness by including key tracking information such as geography or region hierarchy
A single most important reason for collection is to ensure that non-profits, social enterprise or agency which works closely with funder have a closed loop feedback system to measure the progress of their stakeholders or beneficiaries. To measure the cohort or individual achievement, you have to track them based on a set number of outcome metrics.
For example, if the impact fund is providing funds for improving employment, in addition to #of jobs created, it is equally important to understand
1. Improvement in monthly wage at a predefined period.
2. Is beneficiary making a substantial improvement such as socio-economic condition and role for job
Once systems are enriched to collect relevant data, it is important to build an effective impact data aggregation strategy.
Blueprint of Future M&E Software and Impact Management Platforms is a great primer for readers looking to build effective impact reporting strategy.
Learn More: Impact Measurement
Topics: impact measurement
Unmesh is the founder of the SoPact. SoPact is a personal vision that grew from 30 years of experience in technology, management, and the social sector.