What Clients Say About Us
Impact Management Redesign for a Social Enterprise Accelerator
Challenge: Uncharted, one of the country’s first social enterprise accelerators, had been evolving to take an ever-greater role in Denver community initiatives. Its existing systems for measuring impact were not well-suited to tracking the results of the coalition of social enterprises, government agencies, and nonprofits it was now leading.
Action: Over several months, we worked with the Uncharted team to define a Theory of Change that linked together the different roles the organization played to the ultimate outcomes it hoped to achieve. We then used this Theory of Change to identify changes needed in Uncharted’s data collection processes and designed several new survey elements and conversation guides to help the Uncharted team collect valuable information over time. Finally, we updated the organization’s Salesforce database to hold these new data points and coached their internal impact measurement lead so she can make similar changes in the future. You can read more about this project on Uncharted’s Medium Page.
Repeatable Analyses for a Senior Service Agency
Challenge: Jewish Family Services (JFS), a human service agency based in Denver, had implemented a new assessment tool to better understand the outcomes of its Senior Services program. However, no staff member had the time or expertise to analyze these results.
Action: Working together with the Senior Solutions Program Director, we identified five key research questions to explore with the data they gathered using their new tool. We authored the analysis using R Markdown, an extension of the open-source statistical program R. R Markdown made our analysis easy to reproduce—with a click of a button, an analyst can regenerate a report using a new data set, saving JFS time in the future. Then, we facilitated an interactive data-review session to identify opportunities to adjust how the program is delivered and how data are collected. Ultimately, JFS had a timely and well-designed report to communicate coherently with its funders about the program’s impact and next steps.
Data Pipeline for a Family Resource Center
Challenge: As one of the oldest nonprofits in Boulder, Colorado, Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) has a legacy of supporting those most in need. Along with several other organizations in Boulder County, EFAA committed to using a shared data system that tracks recipients of human services. But due to security requirements, self-service reporting was not possible in this new system, and EFAA struggled to get the reports it needed in a timely manner.
Action: In a collaborative project with our technical partner KSpatial, we helped EFAA create a data pipeline that opened up their reporting and allowed them to freely access their data. First, we collaborated with Boulder County to determine how they may securely share data recorded for EFAA clients. Then, we leveraged Amazon Web Services technology (including Amazon Athena) to automatically access data on Boulder County’s secure FTP site, transform this data, and securely publish the reshaped files. We read these new files into Tableau to generate easy-to-interpret dashboards that the EFAA team can use to understand how their impact changes in real time.
Salesforce System to Support a Youth Arts Program
Challenge: While Performing Arts Workshop (PAW) had been delivering excellent arts-based empowerment programs to children in San Francisco for over 50 years, navigating outdated data systems for program management and development were taking up far too much of the staff's time.
Action: Working closely with PAW's Executive Director and senior staff, we implemented a Salesforce database to serve as the system-of-truth for all donor data and support program management. We helped PAW staff articulate their needs, configured and tested solutions in Salesforce, migrated historic records, created user guides and facilitated trainings so all staff understand what they're expected to do. Over the last two years, we’ve continued working together to integrate new systems into Salesforce and leverage the platform’s most recent updates. Performing Arts Workshop's staff continue to use their Salesforce system every week to track major donors, grants, program sites, artist skills, and artist hours.
Modeling the Economic Impact of Prevention
Challenge: Safe & Sound, a San Francisco-based social service agency, collaborated with the University of California, Berkeley to conduct research on the economic implications of child maltreatment. The results were so popular that Safe & Sound received funding to estimate the Economics of Child Abuse for all 58 counties around California. However, Safe & Sound did not have the budget to hire a full-time researcher and lacked research and analytic skills on staff to maintain this project.
Action: We stepped in as lead project manager and researcher, taking over where the University of California, Berkeley team left off. In this role, we worked closely with Safe & Sound’s Executive Director to manage a contract worth several hundred thousand dollars. Since the contract began, we have produced unique analyses of the economic implications of child abuse for over 35 counties across California, as well as a comprehensive report for the state as a whole. Some of these results are public — learn more at economics.safeandsound.org.
Defining Metrics for an Arts Incubator
Challenge: Zoo Labs, an immersive residency experience for creative entrepreneurs, needed a strategy to assess their program’s performance.
Action: Working with the founding team, we conducted interviews with staff and board members to identify expected outcomes, benchmarked competitor performance indicators, and consolidated expected impacts into a handful of areas. The strategic scorecards we created included key indicators for audience engagement, team strength, and financial sustainability. The Zoo Labs team built these new survey tools and scorecards into their processes for following up with residents and have used them to gauge program success in regular staff meetings.