Choosing an Effective Data System for your Organization

Jan 23, 20202 min read

One of the most consequential decisions that organizations in the social sector face is what type of data system they should select to collect information on their core services.

In the course of our work with nonprofit organizations, we routinely struggle with what type of data systems to use, especially when the resources alotted for data collection and evidence building is not always robust.

For Project Evident, this decision is one of the foundational ones that predicates much of what an organization can do in support of evidence generation.  In short, without a data system that is tailored to the core services of an organization, is flexible in its ability to respond to an organization’s needs, and has the capability to be used by the data/evaluation/measurement/learning staff, it is much harder to compile the necessary data to be analyzed for the development of an evidence base.

Using data systems effectively to build evidence and plan strategies ensures that organizations are better able to serve their communities. By making the best possible decisions on data collection early, organizations can mitigate the potential for lost revenue risk and build capacity in a more sustainable way.

Making Wise Decisions, a collective featuring the work of B3 Consults and Public Profit, in partnership Project Evident, has created a resource that practitioners can use in both the early stages of developing an evidence framework, and in the process of deciding to migrate to a different tool or services.

Users begin with a quiz to assess the following:

  • Staff readiness to learn and use data and technology tools.
  • If the current data structure needs to be updated or overhauled.
  • Organizational data needs - are you tracking data for funders or to inform your work?
  • What a successful migration looks like for your organization.

As practitioners explore questions surrounding features and functions of the tools that can meet their needs, they can begin to formulate a strategy that takes into account where the organization is from a data collection, staffing, and ability or willingness to learn standpoint - creating a tailored, self sustaining system that accounts for their organization's capacity today and sets a path for future improvement.

Take the quiz and review the toolkit by clicking here.

Need more help? Contact us today to find out how Project Evident can help your organization better use evidence to improve outcomes for the communities you serve.