Update on the Measured Nonprofit

To my readers,

You will have noticed that it has been some time since there was last an update to this page. This past year has been one of trying new things and availing myself of exciting opportunities.  Unfortunately for this blog, my career has taken a bit of a turn, and I am unable to continue updating the content on the Measured Nonprofit for the time being.  I hope one day to pick this back up again, because I believe deeply in helping the non-profit community develop strong performance measurement and management capacity. Until then, I hope all your measurement dreams come true!

Patrick

Making Data Work for Your Organization

This post was originally published June 16th, 2015 on Inside Management, a blog maintained by the New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards, where I serve as a selection committee member.

One of the primary reasons nonprofits collect data is to report back to their funders. In fact, it is probably the only reason that many nonprofits collect data at all. But this is equivalent to stashing your money under your mattress – sure you are saving money, but you are missing out on much better ways of accomplishing your financial goals. One axiom of personal finance is to not merely work for your money, but instead to make your money work for you. The same goes for your data.

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Powerful Evaluation on Limited Resources

This post was originally published on AEA365, the blog of the American Evaluation Association on October 2nd, 2014 and can be viewed here.

Hello from Patrick Germain! I am an internal evaluator, professor, blog writer, and the President of New York Consortium of Evaluators.  Working as a nonprofit internal evaluator teaches you a few things about evaluating with very few resources. Even as our sector gets better at using validated evidence for accountability and learning, the resources to support evaluative activities remain elusive.  I have written elsewhere about how nonprofits should be honest with funders about the true costs of meeting their evaluation requirements, but here I want to share some tips and resources for evaluators who are trying to meet higher evaluation expectations than they are receiving funding for.

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Evaluation is Dead! Long Live Evaluation!

In The Death of Evaluation, Andrew Means writes an obituary for “traditional, social science driven program evaluation.”  His second post, The Role of Data, more finely articulates his argument.  This post is my reaction to both, as well as my reflections on the appropriate role of evaluation and data in applied nonprofit settings.

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Information and Human Services: Where We Go From Here

nFPWIIn my previous post, I summarized a panel discussion I hosted on information and technology in the human services sector.  While the discussion focused primarily on challenges, we did discuss how the sector can better create, share, and use information to achieve greater impact in the communities we serve.  This post discusses six solutions that we touched upon in the panel.

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Why Measurement in Your Nonprofit is Failing You

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In his blog post “Why Your Analytics are Failing You” on Harvard Business Review’s blog, Michael Schrage discusses the fact that no matter how much your company invests in analytic capability, you won’t reap the full benefits of that investment if it’s not aligned with the existing culture and decision making processes.  His intended audience is for-profit companies, but I can’t help thinking that his thesis is even MORE critical for non-profit organizations.  Continue reading

The Measured Nonprofit is now officially launched!

I am pleased to officially launch The Measured Nonprofit!

My goal is to create and consolidate online content that is relevant to nonprofit organizations who are interested in creating data driven, evidence based, and reflective leadership and management.  This is just the beginning, and while this website might be sparse now, I hope to create an online venue for anyone and everyone who is interested in creating a better world through creating more effective nonprofits.

This will be an ever evolving experiment, but if nothing else, I hope you find something of interest on this humble site.

Thanks for visiting!

Patrick Germain – The Measured Nonprofit

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Making Evaluation Happen When You are Not in the Room: Engaging People

This post was originally published on 1/29/14 on Ann Emery’s Evaluation Blog

This is the second of a three part series on how internal evaluators can build their organization’s evaluation capacity and is based on a talk at Eval 13 by the same name. Last post, I wrote about starting from scratch when you first begin evaluation capacity building efforts.

Jim Collins, in his seminal work of business management Good to Great, talks about the ‘flywheel effect’.  If you aren’t familiar with it, take a few minutes to read this or better yet, buy his book.  Sometimes in the early days of building evaluation capacity, it can feel like you are trying to push a building up the block, and it isn’t until a year or two in that you look back and realize you have actually gotten somewhere!  But how do we create self-sustaining momentum around evaluation capacity?  I break it down into two buckets: engaging people, and engaging systems.  This post will be about engaging people, the next one will be about engaging systems. Continue reading

Making Evaluation Happen When You are Not in the Room: Getting Started

This post was originally posted on 12/18/13 on Ann Emery’s Evaluation Blog

This is the first of a three part series on how internal evaluators can think about building their organization’s evaluation capacity and sustainability and is based on a talk at Eval13 by the same name.

Any evaluator, internal or external, working to incorporate evaluative practices into nonprofit organizations must engage a wide variety of staff and systems in the design, implementation, and management of those practices.  The success of those efforts will be decided to a large extent by how non-evaluators are brought into the evaluation tent, and how evaluation is integrated into administrative and service delivery systems.  But how do we even begin?

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