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Digging Into Program Data (Webinar Series)

About this event

In our increasingly data-driven world, nonprofits need to be able to measure and monitor the effectiveness of their programs more than ever. It’s difficult to improve program services or reach without first understanding what’s working and what isn’t. Gathering the right data is key. From how many meals served at your soup kitchen or the number of students in a mentoring program who graduate high school to the percent of your target population without access to affordable housing, being able to track such numbers can help you identify the improvement or impact of your programs or organization.

Unfortunately, while more funders and constituents expect you to be evaluating your programs, it can be challenging to ask the right questions, gather the data, and analyze the results. But that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach for small and medium-sized nonprofits to do so. Having a solid understanding of the process is an essential first step.

That’s where Idealware can help. In Digging Into Program Data, we will start presenting this complete look at how data can inform your organization by showing you where you can find important organizational data, and where you should store it. We’ll continue with a discussion around how you should think about, measure, and present data to others. Finally, we’ll share how data can inform your decision-making process.

Throughout this three-part course, we’ll explore how real organizations are using their data, and provide ample opportunities to talk through how this applies to your own organization.

Through participation in this course, you will:

  • Learn how to ask the right questions of your data
  • Explore the many places where data can live
  • Evaluate multiple strategies for presenting your data
  • Dive into case studies of real organizations using data to make decisions

Toolkit Schedule

All 90 minute sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. PST.

December 3, 2014: Asking the Right Questions

Simply collecting data is not enough. Deciding early on what you will do with that data—and why you want it in the first place—will help you to define goals and approaches. We’ll talk through how to define your organization’s own data-based metrics strategy from the ground up, and importantly, how to ask the right questions.

December 10, 2014: Hunting Down the Data

More often than not, the most useful data won’t be found already neatly laid out in a spreadsheet. You might find extremely valuable data in handwritten staff notes, in software you haven’t looked at in six months, or public repositories. We’ll discuss where different data can live, which sources of data might be useful, and where and how you can collect it to be ready for analysis.

December 17,2014: Presenting & Using Your Data

It’s not enough just to define and collect the data. Even if you work at a one-person organization, you’ll likely need to share that data with other colleagues, board members, and the community at large in order to bring about change. Presenting your findings visually and making sure that your organizational process includes making use of the data will ensure you can make the most of it.

This abridged course is targeted at program staff, leadership staff, and fundraising staff—really anyone who is responsible for measuring outcomes or results for their organization. This is a beginner-to-intermediate course for the everyday staffer (or board member) who is tasked with evaluation but doesn’t know where to start or has started, but wants to revise or improve their current program. We will walk through the process of data evaluation from start to finish—you don’t need a PhD in program evaluation to follow along, you just need to show and take part in our conversation.

About the Presenters

As the Executive Director of Idealware, Laura Quinn oversees Idealware’s research, writing, and training, including substantial research into email tools and best practices. Prior to joining Idealware, Laura founded Alder Consulting, a firm that specialized in strategizing, designing, and building powerful internet strategies for affordable budgets. Laura is a frequent speaker on nonprofit technology topics, and has conducted scores of online and offline seminars.

Cost (for all three sessions)

$85 NAO Members
$95 Nonmembers

Additional Information

Registration for this event is through Idealware, our partner for this training.

Please register with the email address where you would like to receive the access and dial-in information for the online seminar.

All registered participants are granted access to the recordings of each session. If a participant cannot attend any of the sessions due to a scheduling conflict, they will still have access to all the content of the Toolkit.

Register now

Want More Training On This Topic?

Check out Project Impact PDX: Building Capacity To Prove & To Improve, the Portland, Oregon based evaluation leadership cohort beginning in January 2015.