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.
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 human services non-profit sector is in the midst of a management revolution, a revolution built on measurement.
Words like evaluation, performance management, outcomes measurement, and performance based contracts are now joining the ranks of quality assurance, compliance reviews, and performance audits in the minds of nonprofit leaders. With all of these concepts flying around, many non-profit leaders don’t know the difference between them; they just want to be running effective programs! So let’s say you want to get in on all of this ‘outcomes’ stuff – where do you begin? What does this all even mean?
This post is my attempt to cut through the confusion, and define some of the main differences among the different ways of measuring nonprofits.