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What’s Measured, Improves: The Essentiality of Extraordinary Nonprofit Program Evaluation

In a highly saturated nonprofit industry where resources are limited and many separate nonprofit organizations fight for the same cause, consistent, effective demonstration of your nonprofit programs’ success is absolutely critical. Funders of all kinds – individual donors, private and public foundations, government agencies, and corporations – are becoming increasingly concerned with how their money is spent, and whether or not their donations are an investment into real, tangible, and widespread impact.

With an effective measurement and evaluation strategy in place, your nonprofit will stand out in this environment of competitive fundraising. When done well, measurement becomes more than just a metric. It is a tool that cultivates learning and inspires informed decision-making that leads to improved long-term performance for your programs. Even more, results of successful measurement such as data points on program outputs (e.g. the number of high school students accepted to college at an education nonprofit) can be used as a marketing tool – shared with funders, on social media, in newsletters, grant applications and beyond.

Measuring your Nonprofit’s Program Success

WeThrive’s all-in-one Program Management digital tool will empower your nonprofit to implement an evaluation strategy that is guaranteed to attract more funders, and improve your programs’ success. But what sorts of factors should you consider when measuring success? There is a myriad of possible strategies for evaluation, but our research can be simplified to three critical approaches:

Measuring Inputs. Inputs describe what amount of resources (both financial and nonfinancial) was used to conduct an activity.

Measuring Outputs. Outputs are the activities performed by your nonprofit, the number of students enrolled in college, or the number of food baskets delivered to families in need. While this type of data shows the quantity of program services provided, it does not prove whether any real results were achieved. Did the students stay focused in college? How satisfied were the families who received their groceries?

Measuring Outcomes. Outcomes measure how much better off your nonprofit’s beneficiaries are as a result of your programs. For example, how many students who went to college actually graduated and were offered a full-time job soon after graduation?

WeThrive and Effective Program Evaluation

WeThrive’s all-in-one program management platform will enable your nonprofit to achieve all of its program goals, by measuring your programs’ progress and using data to improve your programs through informed decision-making.

WeThrive Measures Inputs.

Our platform allows managers to organize their programs, add users and track user time spent investing in those programs. For example, our Training and learning applications allow you to track inputs such as volunteer time spent on learning modules, or student time spent on completion of assignments. Likewise, our Applications and Pipelines application allows you to manage inputs that are invested into the grant process – such as the number of applications submitted, number of applications that won money or did not, and staff time spent on research and writing grant applications.

WeThrive Measures Output.

Our platform is built for secure, reliable, and constant output data collection on anything and everything a prospective funder may want to know about your programs. You’ll work with us to define which key metrics you’d like to collect data on, and we’ll customize your specific WeThrive platform to make it happen. Want to track the number of fruits and vegetables that were sent to families in need through your grocery delivery program? Want to tell a donor the number of astronomy books read with 2nd-grade female children across 3 schools through your educational reading program? No matter what, we’ve got you covered.

WeThrive Measures Outcomes.

Finally, WeThrive will help your nonprofit go the extra mile by not only showcasing your program’s outputs, but proving that those outputs lead to a tangible, positive difference in your target community. For example, sending pre and post program surveys that measure the quality of your programs (rather than just quantitative data) will allow you collect raw, genuine information on the emotions and thoughts of beneficiaries experiencing your programs.
Furthermore, our Community Chat and Engagement application will enable your nonprofit to
connect and engage with your entire community, keep track of long-term outcomes of
participating members and re-activate anyone who’s become disengaged.


In the words of Peter Drucker – one of society’s most widely known and influential thinkers on business management – “What’s measured improves.”

WeThrive agrees. There is nothing more important than ensuring that the hard work you put in
each and every day to make a positive change actually does.

Sources:
https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/evaluation-and-measurement-ofoutcomes
https://www.bridgespan.org/bridgespan-services/our-areas-of-expertise/measurementevaluation-and-learning
https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/measuringwhat-matters-in-nonprofits#
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/using-outcomes-to-measure-nonprofit-success/
https://www.bl.uk/people/peterdrucker#:~:text=Peter%20Drucker%20(1909%2D2005),manager%20as%20a%20distinct%20responsibility

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