Can you quantify your impact at your neighborhood agency?
written by Bianca M. Butts, Director of Marketing & Outcomes
Can a Cleveland neighborhood non-profit historic settlement house accurately quantify and compellingly convey data on program execution, strategic outcomes outcomes, and articulate a collective impact plan with sustainable measurements?
This is the question that I seek to address in my role as the Director of Marketing and Outcomes at East End Neighborhood House. My work is not just about publicity and flyers. It is more about relationship building and enhancing agency visibility, neighborhood integration, and data collection. Suffice it to say, I wear many hats at East End. I am a resident, an employee, and a neighborhood grassroots entrepreneur.
Funders, partners, academics, residents, and donors want to know more and more about how non profit organizations are actually making an impact on clients served. This information has always been pursued in the quest to hold organizations accountable and ensure good stewardship, but in today’s climate organizations are increasingly required to quantify in “data speak” the impact of their efforts and use of funds for programming. This new climate is not unreasonable, except that this new curiosity on “quantifying impact and data collection ” has not yet been yet with the necessary support to do the work to explore means and tools to report such results.
What does data collection and quantifying impact mean to a settlement house today?
Settlement houses are not as common as our history reads. Nationally settlement houses have appeared to die to the common eye, but in reality they are fewer in number but still impacting communities and families across the country.
East End Neighborhood House was founded as a settlement house to support Hungarian immigrants. Today East End honors its settlement house roots and functions as a contemporary neighborhood agency still addressing the needs of families, seniors, children and those settling into Greater Cleveland communities. We have intentionally created partnerships and explore opportunities to expand our ability to measure our effectiveness at meeting the goals of providing culturally compassionate service delivery and positioning our clients to thrive.
Outcomes and data management is more than purchasing a fancy data system or measurement tool. It is more about determining the metrics to measure and implementing engagement practices to connect constituents to data collection efforts and conveying the organizational value to partners within our organization.
What is East End Neighborhood House doing to address this current trend?
East End has researched data systems and collection methodologies for 2 years to identify best practices and capacity building opportunities to enhance our ability to quantify impact. No we are focusing our efforts on coordinating and establishing effective FEEDBACK LOOPS to engage our client base, neighbors, and external partners. The Listen for Good effort with the Fund for Shared Insight has been a wonderful source of support and capacity building to execute our data & outcomes work. By collaborating with The Fund for Shared Insight, Saint Lukes Foundation, The United Black Fund, and other partners, we are learning processes and practices to build feedback loops and deepen our engagement efforts to better understand how we are meeting or not meeting client and community expectations.
Survey design, survey distribution, focus groups, engagement events, promotion, and reporting have been the processes and practices we have become proficient in executing in the past 18 months. James Jones, EENH’s Community Ambassador has been instrumental in coordinating communication and event management in our Listen for Good journey. His efforts combined with our marketing platforms of a weekly radio show, updated website, and leveraging of other technology have changed the way we plan and execute our data & outcomes work.
“In this phase of our work, we especially encouraged our partners to engage individuals from across their organization — and not limit the brainstorm to those in an evaluation-focused role. Individuals like program managers, finance staff, and others can challenge the way evaluators look at things and offer fresh perspectives.”
– Laura Hollod,
How can someone support our current and future efforts?
Take our survey. Visit our website, follow us on social media, make a donation, attend an event, tell people about East End Neighborhood House and the work we do. Come visit us (2749 Woodhill Rd Cleveland, OH 44104). Call us (216-707-6032 Marketing department). Email us (email@example.com). Stay connected and become an advocate for East End. We have a few sayings at The House that keep us all keeping on….here are a few:
- “UBUNTU…I SEE YOU!”
- show up as your best self, and the rest is up to the Universe.
- “If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready. I am ready.” -Ghost
- it takes a village.
- ABCD (always be collecting data)
- who advocates for the Advocates? we need advocates for advocates. our parents, clients, and neighbors MUST become our advocates for East End Neighborhood House.
- WE are YOUR neighborhood agency.
- “we envision a greater Buckeye, Woodland Hills, Ward 6 village that enables all members to thrive. “
We are currently moving into Phase 2 of our Listen for Good effort and will begin focusing our work on our Senior demographic in June 2017. We are preparing a survey for external partners (community members and non clients, and institutional investors, and anyone who wants to complete the survey). We are actively and consistently seeking INDIVIDUAL donations to support our ability to continue to do this good work in our villages. Donate on our website and support future fundraising efforts to enhance the sustainability of our neighborhood initiatives.
additional resources on this topic
Effective philanthropy article : In Building Capacity, put Grantees First
blog post written by Bianca M. Butts, Director of Marketing & Outcomes
firstname.lastname@example.org www.eenh.org @eastend216 on IG & Twitter
Copyright East End Neighborhood House, Inc 2017