In a world driven by data, it’s becoming increasingly important for social organisations to prove their impact – not just through what they say, but through cold, hard facts.
While many already collect information on the work they’re doing, there remains a gap.
There’s a limit to what you can understand from the numbers alone, and simply reporting the data can feel far removed from the real-world and the day-to-day work done by the workers in your organisation.
For your information to become truly valuable, you need to start unpicking it. By applying the right methods of data analyses, you should be able to learn from your data and to use the insights you draw out of it to make practical changes within your organisation. This approach to data analysis will allow you to optimise your resources and maximise your results.
More than that, you’ll be able to extract the story behind your successes, and use that to show the world the valuable social impact your organisation is achieving.
Empower your staff
Looking at the data alone, it can be difficult for practitioners to know where to concentrate their efforts, and where changes to their service are most needed. But with the right analysis, the data you already have can be transformed into immensely valuable information to guide practitioners’ decisions, and highlight areas for improvement.
Learning from your data can give your practitioners insights on their individual clients, on how the team is performing, and on the organisation as a whole. It means they’ll know exactly what you need to target, and how to fine-tune your service to achieve the best possible results.
Understand your beneficiaries
No doubt you have worked in your sector long enough to know that your clients are not all the same. By applying the appropriate analytical techniques, you can understand the differences between clients and tailor your services to their varying needs.
Methods like segmentation and cluster analysis allow you to pick out patterns across different groups of people with different characteristics, and identify not only “what works?”, but “what works for whom?”.
Predict future outcomes
Your data can tell you not just what’s happened to date, but the outcomes that your organisation could produce in the future.
This can be done by applying scenario and simulation analysis, to predict the potential results of a variety of situations. These predictions should update dynamically, changing over time as other conditions change.
What’s really valuable about these predictions is that you can use them to optimise your resources, and to expend them in a way that will have maximum effect. That’s important for any organisation to know, but particularly helpful for non-profits and social enterprises whose resources are often limited.
Know your social impact, and prove it
Learning from your data gives you the confidence of knowing – not just hoping – that what you’re doing works. It lets you know that you’re making a real impact in your field, but perhaps more importantly, it offers assurance to the people who are looking for that proof.
Your funders and stakeholders need to have confidence in what your organisation is achieving, and by analysing your data you can give them just that.
To take a youth service as an example, a potential funder might want to know how much of a difference the organisation is making to youth unemployment in the area. In answer, it could use examples from the analysed data, and effectively demonstrate its improvement in comparison with a control group.
By telling the story of its impact, backed up with concrete evidence and analysis, the youth service would be able to provide a much more convincing argument than it would be, using the raw data alone.
Learn from your data with GtD
Get the Data works with organisations in the UK and the US that want to prove their impact on society. We provide social impact analytics in the form of three main packages: Measure, Learn and Prove.
Our Learn service sits in the middle, making it a perfect next step for organisations that have collected data on their service but need to understand it better in order to use it. “Learn” can also be used in combination with our “Measure” and “Prove” services, in any order that suits you.
Beginning with a strategic review of your data, we’ll put together an insight strategy and follow up with regular reports to monitor the results – integrating those reports with your own systems so they’re dynamic, useful, and convenient to use.
If you know you could be doing more to learn from your data but you’re not sure where to start, take the first step and contact us today. We will get you started on your social impact journey.