Are you a nonprofit leader who is under increasing pressure by funders and other stakeholders to measure your program’s outcomes? Does your staff complain that they have a never ending series of reports to submit to funders but that they add very little, if any, value to their day-to-day work? Do you find that the costs of measuring your outcomes are prohibitive and that most funders do not pay for this added cost?
You are not alone! In fact, in my experience, the vast majority of nonprofits are facing this problem and feel caught between a rock and a hard place.
In my seven years at Charity Navigator (CN), these concerns were raised repeatedly by nonprofit leaders that I met around the country. For the first five years I worked there, I had no good answer to this dilemma. Then I learned about programs like Algorhythm whose mission is to solve this exact problem. They provide meaningful information to help organizations use data to learn and improve their operations, while also satisfying funder requirements.
How is it possible to achieve this? The simple answer is that the new online tools available today are standardized and evidence-based. These tools have been developed by social science experts who have culled best practices and outcome indicators in a cause area and then developed simple surveys to determine how well a program or organization is doing compared to others. The surveys are administered to staff leadership, program managers, board members and, in some cases, the clients being served much more quickly than what is required for most other outcome assessment systems (these surveys typically take 30 minutes or less).
The tools are better than what normally pass for outcome assessments because they can predict the likelihood a client will have a significant outcome, as well as prescribe (before a program begins) practices that can improve the chances of positive outcomes. Front line staff members, for the first time ever, are actually receiving value in return for their reporting! Leadership staff can satisfy funder requirements, increase their ability to raise funds in the outcome-focused funding arena, as well as become outcome leaders in their fields of practice. Most importantly, you can learn how to become even more effective at meeting your organization’s mission and better serving your clients.
Finally, these tools are much, much cheaper than customized consultant work that can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. Algorhythm’s pricing, for example, ranges from $500 to as low as $35 (for bulk purchases).
Algorhythm tools are used in Fist to Five’s proprietary process for evaluating not-for-profit organizations and measuring their effectiveness in key areas of success. Every organization owes it to themselves and their causes to consider this new avenue for transforming reporting requirements into outcome-measuring vehicles.