Building Data Capacity
We at Informing Change are committed to helping nonprofits and foundations use data to reflect on their work, improve their practice, increase their impact and communicate their results. From short-term, targeted coaching to longer-term consulting partnerships, Informing Change provides customized data capacity-building services, grounded in more than 15 years of evaluation, strategy and consulting experience.
The examples of our services highlighted below may be offered individually or in combination, with different entry points and varying depth of support. We always start with a conversation to surface a client’s learning interests and data-related experience and capacity. We customize each client engagement to be right-sized, affordable and effective based on a client’s particular needs.
- Develop a roadmap for measurement. We work with clients to clarify the purpose of measurement efforts, identify key audiences for the findings, and generate evaluation questions or learning goals. We also collaborate to develop a strategic framework or theory of change, articulating the problems to be addressed, key constituencies, strategies and intended outcomes.
- Decide what to measure, how and when. We help clients develop meaningful indicators of success related to program implementation and progress toward intended outcomes. We assist in developing “SMART” objectives (i.e., Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) and help clients determine data collection methods, sources and timing.
- Design and refine data tools and systems. We share relevant examples, provide input on existing tools, and draft new questions or tools for surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations and secondary data review. We also help clients create, pilot test and improve data systems, from Excel spreadsheets to complex databases.
- Collect data. We advise on selecting a sample of participants, obtaining consent, tracking participants over time and boosting response rates. We can lead data collection efforts (e.g., launch online surveys, facilitate focus groups) or coach clients in doing so.
- Analyze data. We work with clients to clean, code and analyze data. We provide insight into the “sense-making” process, helping to glean the most salient findings, pointing to additional questions and analysis opportunities, and interpreting implications.
- Communicate findings. We conceptualize reporting templates (e.g., data dashboards) and offer a critical eye on clients’ draft reports. We also brainstorm dissemination methods and help clients hone the messages they share with diverse audiences in print, online and verbally.
- And … We are just a phone call or e-mail away, ready to offer flexible guidance in response to a broad range of client needs.