Good Measure is an association of philanthropic funding organizations working with their grantees to creatively and strategically use data to make a bigger difference in the lives of more people. But how did different funders in Central Texas come together around data?
The idea for Good Measure came about in 2015. Founding members were already meeting informally to figure out how to create a culture of data, evaluation and learning to support smart impact in Central Texas. Members of our group knew how much nonprofit service providers care about client and community outcomes. However, given the often-overwhelming demand for services and limited resources, many organizations struggle to effectively collect, access and most importantly, utilize their data. And we know that data-informed decision making is key to amplifying impact.
By 2016, Good Measure formally launched with key support to organize ourselves into action. We approached a long-time community partner, Mission Capital, to become our “backbone” organization to bring the vision of a data-informed learning community to life. Today, Mission Capital is dedicated to coordinating the various dimensions of our work and in developing curriculum and content for our key programming.
We believe that funders have a critical role to play, both individually and collectively, in supporting our partners’ ability to strengthen internal evaluation systems and utilize data-driven insights. That’s why all our meetings and work are done in a spirit of collaboration. We aim to build a safe space for all community partners to look at data to inform program tweaks, strategic moves, or generate new discussion. Even when the data suggest that we’ve been going down the wrong path, we need to examine it, share it, and learn from it.
Though we all have different missions and imperatives, Good Measure allows funders in Central Texas to offer a unified voice about the importance of using data and evaluation for learning and continuous improvement.