Data is at the center of every nonprofit organization. Data is the way organizations can gauge their performance, service delivery, and overall impact on the community and on their clients. Above all else, data, along with technology usage, can guide an organization to high performance. However, not every organization is in the same place in their data journey. That’s why we’ve created the Maturity Model! Gaining insight into where your organization is helps show a clearer path of how to grow and do more with your data.
What are the stages of the Maturity Model? We have identified four stages: Committed, Counting Outputs, Measuring Outcomes, and Managing Outcomes. What does each of those stages entail?
Maturity Model Stage 1: Committed
Organizations at this stage in the Maturity Model are full of passion for the issue they’re pursuing. That passion translates into everything they do and it can lead to sleepless nights, early mornings, but, ultimately, tons of fulfillment.
Because passion is the main driving force of your operation, there’s not much room for effective data collection. You didn’t open your organization’s doors to collect data — you opened them to help the people in your community. But, data collection is an important part of that. Tracking each client and interaction you have can point to important conclusions that you can’t see otherwise.
But, since you haven’t implemented these processes into your systems, you don’t have much visibility into your programs or service delivery, and how they are interacting with your clients. Another issue you can face at this stage is your limited access to funding. Because there is little data collection happening, you don’t have enough information to apply for grants. Of course, this immediately puts you at a disadvantage because without funding, you can’t grow your mission and that can leave you stuck, even if you have a lot of potential.
Being at this stage of the model can seem daunting, but it’s really a great place to be. This is the perfect jumping-off point for your organization so you can begin your data journey. Learn how you can resolve some of these pain points and get to the next stage by downloading out eBook or by taking the Maturity Model quiz.
Maturity Model Stage 2: Counting Outputs
Though this is the second stage, many consider this the first formal step in an organization’s data journey. While the first stage is where you decide that you want to gear up towards high performance, the Counting Outputs stage is where you can finally take the strategies you’ve previously developed and move forward.
At this stage, you begin looking at your data for insights into your service delivery and programs in the form of outputs, or the individual interactions you have with your clients. With outputs, you can see how your services are affecting your clients on an individual level, which is great for you and your stakeholders.
Another milestone that happens at this stage is that you have enough data to apply for grants, which is an enormous win. When you have funding, you can make pervasive change and grow your mission. But, because you have funders, you have an even greater pressure to report on the data you collect and give it to them in a timely manner, which can be hard at this stage. You’ve only just gotten used to collecting data and it can be difficult to report more frequently.
Along with that, there are bound to be gaps in your data at this stage. It happens to many organizations. One client or point of interest can be missed and it creates a gap that you will need to fill in order to get a full picture of your programs. However, since your organization is so new at formalized data collection, your team isn’t equipped to stop, identify the error, and fix it in a timely fashion. This will inevitably lead to less visibility into your programs and service delivery as a whole.
Luckily, there are ways you can get over these humps and get to a place where you can be more data agile. Download our eBook Mapping your Data Journey: The Social Solutions Maturity Model to learn more.
Want to see where your organization is on the Maturity Model? Take our Maturity Model quiz to learn where your organization is in your data journey.