Nonprofit Performance Management: Using Data to Measure and Improve Programs

Tracking and measuring data can give nonprofits a better understanding of the populations they serve and how they serve them, and help them identify areas to improve their reach and the efficiency of their programs. But many nonprofits struggle to track data--or even to define what data they should be tracking.

As the nonprofit world adopts an increasingly data-driven model, the expectation is that more and more nonprofits will embrace the same approach. Will yours be ready? The better question is, what opportunities to improve your program activities and communications are you missing out on now?

Using data to improve your programs can pose a number of challenges. You might be limited by time, budget, and staffing restraints, or unsure of how to proceed. How are successful nonprofits implementing their data practices? What software are they using? What obstacles are they facing, and how are they overcoming them? 
 
We reached out to our network of experts and consultants for examples of organizations that were successfully using data to improve and direct their work, and talked to staffers involved with data at 10 of them. Then we analyzed the information we gathered for common themes, best practices, and any patterns that might be useful. We also asked them for advice for other organizations looking to replicate their successes and learn from their mistakes. 
 
From those 10 organizations, we wrote up seven case studies about the different ways they were using data. This report is built around those case studies and the additional conversations we had.
 
Want to learn how to move your organization toward a model of data-driven decision-making? Register below to download the report--it's free, thanks to our friends at Exponent Partners and our other funders.