Tracking outcomes can offer an array of benefits, from improving your reports to driving collaboration between funders and grantees.
One additional benefit is improved decision-making. By tracking outcomes and indicators using an automated process and aggregating the data in one place, organisations are able to spend less time on ad-hoc data collection and analysis and more time on important decisions that drive operational effectiveness. With the power of knowledge derived from measuring outcomes, funders are able to make better decisions about projects and organisations to fund.
Outcomes = Opportunity
In our ongoing dialogue with thousands of members of the giving community, we’ve heard from hundreds of foundations that are either measuring outcomes or want to measure outcomes. And what do they want? Sure, they want to use outcomes to measure performance, but they also want to know which organisations can benefit from added capacity to achieve their shared social mission. Having a shared understanding of intended outcomes from the beginning of the grant, and tracking progress toward those outcomes, allows foundations to evaluate where their grantee partners need extra help. Depending on the programmatic area, we estimate that 20 to 40 percent of all foundation funding is in the service of expanding a well-intended non-profit’s capacity to change the world and make it a better place.
Transparent Outcomes, Improved Funding
There’s another benefit not necessarily associated with the improved transparency an organisation gains measuring, tracking and reporting on outcomes: improved funding. Philanthropists are looking for effective stewards of their social investment. The ability to better articulate the work, by both funder and grantee partner, ensures these new champions of philanthropy can be confident of the return on investment, in the form of specific and measurable impact. Indeed, through our extensive market research, we know of benefactors that will immediately increase funding if outcomes are established early on in the grant application process.
Additional Benefits for Corporate Philanthropists
All foundations and their non-profit partners can benefit from measuring, tracking and reporting on outcomes. But corporations can realise an additional benefit not available to foundations: that of commercial success.
Corporations can benefit in the areas of employee retention and customer loyalty, both of which have potentially advantageous effects.
Skillfully broadcasting your well-defined corporate philanthropic efforts across the organisation helps to boost employee engagement and pride. “Well defined” is important here; specificity matters. Employees are much more excited by statements like “Our corporation provided funding that resulted in 100 third-graders improving their reading achievement by two grade levels in 2015” rather than “We gave £100,000 to our local public school system.” The power of specificity triggers added pride in the organisation, which can lead to increased employee retention, especially amongst Millennials.
As we continue on our shared outcomes journey, we will uncover and share more about the key ways various philanthropists and their non-profit partners benefit not only from the crisp measuring, tracking and reporting of outcomes to stakeholders, but the ways in which their organisation’s effectiveness is improved. The fun is just beginning!