4 responses to “Dancing With the Stats”

  1. Ingrid, I really like this blog and appreciate you putting it out there. If you don’t mind, may I make a few other recommendations?
    Get Board Member input. They should provide input on what data they need to do their job effectively.
    Data on outcomes and outputs. It is much easier to track outputs and thus we tend to focus on this. However, outcomes are often of more interest to funders and important for an effective communications strategy.
    Regular review. Take time to review this information ever so often. Things may change and data may no longer be helpful. We forget to update this information and staff compile senseless reports.
    Make time to discuss. I learned the hard way that my managers were pulling data but not actually looking at it. Not until I set aside time with them to make it meaningful did the data start educating us about what was and was not working.

    Another issue is making sure the information you input is information you need. We often spend unnecessary time inputting data that we don’t actually need. Focus on what information you actually need to pull the necessary data. Concentrate on updating that data rather than data that may not be truly helpful.

  2. Hi Meredith,

    Thank you for your kind words, and you are welcome. You offer some very insightful and valuable suggestions. I have to agree with you that too often we end up collecting info that we really don’t need, or sometimes forget to collect other information that we do need. A former funder wanted us to collect how many new clients we had acquired in one year. However, they never told us this in advance of us preparing the stats, so we were scrambling trying to find the info they needed. So just as it is important to talk to your board, it is probably a good idea to consult your funders as well.

    Thanks for contributing to this discussion!

    Ingrid :)

  3. I totally agree that this is important to consult funders. I apologize if my comment alluded otherwise. That was definitely not my intent. Thanks for your response and your work to help educate us non-profit workers out there!

  4. Hi Meredith,

    I only bring up the funders because I have forgotten in the past. Thanks for posting!

    Ingrid :)

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