It takes more than heart and soul to change the world - you also need data. Learn how to measure what matters to drive impact, no matter how 'small' your nonprofit is. Dr. Alexandra Mannerings brings experts from every corner of the public good sector and beyond to have approachable, actionable conversations about how to take your next step with analytics, especially if you don't fancy yourself a 'data person'.
If we want to achieve the greatest good you can, we need to know if we're headed in the right direction, if what we're doing is working, and how we can amplify our progress. Combining the insights of data with the wisdom of people is the best way to maximize fundraising, evaluate our programs, make the most of our resources, and drive change. That's why Heart, Soul & Data is here to help you break down the barriers, cut through the confusion, translate the jargon, and guide you along the way to amplifying your nonprofit's impact with data. Listen in and let's explore the world of analytics for good together!
Your host, Alexandra Mannerings, is the founder of Merakinos, a data services and analytic education company devoted to nonprofits and social enterprises. A decade of measuring what matters in low-resource environments from Ghana to Atlanta has taught her how to ask impactful questions of data - even when it's just you in the wilderness. She earned her PhD in Veterinary Science (Epidemiology) from the University of Cambridge, UK, and BSc in Biology from Emory University. She has also run the Data Center at a state hospital association, rowed for the Light Blues, built trails across Colorado parks, and is currently raising two spirited toddlers.
67: Are You Ready For Data? With Cindy Eby
Are you ready for data?
This isn't always a question we realize we need to ask. Luckily, Cindy Eby from Results Lab is here to help us ask and answer that key question.
In this episode, we cover the importance of:
Defining Clear Objectives: It's crucial to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your program and define specific outcomes. By doing this, you can design interventions that are targeted and effective.
Execute Consistently: If you aren't delivering your programs more or less the same way every time and with every client, then there's nothing yet that you can evaluate. Start with building a sustainable, reliable process for delivery before attempting evaluation.
Ethical Responsibility: Data plays a vital role in identifying who benefits from a program and who doesn't. Organizations have an ethical responsibility to ensure that their programs are appropriate for their target populations and, when necessary, refer individuals to more suitable services.
Start Small: When incorporating data into program evaluation, it's wise to start with small, focused questions. Don't try to collect and analyze all data at once. Begin by asking specific questions, collecting relevant data, and gradually building your data analysis capabilities.
The Human Element: While data is crucial, it's equally important to consider the human element. Understanding the needs and perspectives of the people you're serving is key. Combining quantitative data with qualitative insights can provide a more holistic view of program effectiveness.
Cindy Eby (she/her), Founder and CEO of ResultsLab, is an innovator when it comes to impact in the social sector and a nationally experienced specialist in guiding nonprofit organizations to build their capacity for using data to catalyze positive change. With a reputation for talking about data in a way that is accessible for stakeholders at every level, she operates her Denver-based company, ResultsLab, on the belief that every team deserves the data mindset, skillset and toolset necessary to deliver on social impact and expand smartly. Cindy applies more than 25 years of experience in helping organizations leverage data to catapult their outcomes. She graduated from the University of Denver with a Master of Arts in Sociology. Her career experience has included leadership and advisory roles with organizations such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and Mile High United.
66 - Evaluation, Done Better with Corey Newhouse
In this enlightening episode, join Alexandra as she engages in a thought-provoking conversation with Corey Newhouse, founder of Public Profit, about the essential intersection of values and evaluation in the nonprofit sector. Corey provides profound insights into the significance of aligning organizational values with the process of data collection and evaluation, challenging the extractive roots of traditional evaluation practices. They delve into the crucial role of values in shaping evaluation questions, data collection methods, and analysis, highlighting the need for a more inclusive and equitable approach. Corey talks about the Equitable Evaluation Initiative's principles and explores practical strategies for integrating values into the evaluation process. From language access to equity gap scores, they discuss tangible steps that nonprofits can take to humanize the data collection process and enhance its rigor. Whether you're a nonprofit professional or an advocate for social change, gain a deeper understanding of how to transform evaluation into a collaborative, values-driven endeavor that maximizes impact and promotes equity in the nonprofit world.
Corey Newhouse has been a dedicated advocate for educational equity and social justice since the 1990s. As the visionary founder of Public Profit, she spearheads a mission to empower purpose-driven organizations. Her dynamic leadership shapes the team's strategic direction, external relationships, and business development. Prior to that, Corey was a Senior Policy Associate with Children Now, supporting the policy team with data and evaluation, and as an Associate with HTA, a strategy and fundraising consulting firm.
65 - Data Science for Good with Peter Bull
Join Alexandra and data science guru, Peter Bull, as they dive into the fascinating world of data analytics and its impact on the nonprofit sector. They explore the common misconception that data science is only for large corporations and how nonprofits can leverage it to supercharge their impact. Learn about real-life data science projects that have made a difference for nonprofits, including the powerful combination of data and automation to free up human resources for more valuable tasks. Throughout the episode, Peter shares valuable insights on avoiding pitfalls when embarking on data science projects. He emphasizes the importance of starting simple and building iteratively towards more sophisticated solutions. You'll discover how having a strong data collection strategy and an observability mindset are critical for success in the data science world. Whether you're a nonprofit leader, data enthusiast, or simply intrigued by the power of data, this episode will leave you inspired to unlock the full potential of data science.
Peter Bull is the Principal Data Scientist and Co-founder at DrivenData, an organization dedicated to harnessing the power of data science for social good. With a passion for leveraging data to drive positive change, Peter has made significant strides in helping nonprofits and social organizations maximize their impact through data-driven decision-making.
64 - Excel Tricks with Matt Brattin
In this episode, SaaS CFO, data nerd, and Excel fanatic Matt Brattin joins Alexandra to explore the key elements of successful data management. They emphasize the importance of consistency and integrity in data collection, as well as the need for data to be accurate and usable for its intended purpose. The conversation covers practical tips for cleaning and transforming data using Excel, highlighting its versatility as a beginner-friendly tool for data analytics. They also provide valuable resources for learning Excel and improving data literacy. This episode serves as a concise guide for those interested in harnessing the power of data through efficient data cleaning and Excel proficiency.
Matt Brattin is a SaaS CFO, data nerd, and Excel fanatic who uses his platform to help professionals "doing the work" learn new ways of thinking and doing that will propel them in their careers. As a nearly 20-year professional in the space, he's looking to support the development of the next generation of data leaders.
63 - Building Bridges with Rebecca Gosla
In this episode, we sat down with Rebecca Gosla of Simplicity Education to discuss what it takes to succeed as a data manager, how being a data manager can mean different things to different orgs, what the day to day experience of a data manager looks like, and what those of us who are not data managers can do to better support this role so that we all have the information that we need to be successful at the change we are trying to achieve.
Rebecca is an Associate at Simplicity Education. Her role at Simplicity focuses on building data analysis tools for the organization’s school partners and working with school leaders to gain actionable insights about their student data. Prior to working at Simplicity, Rebecca worked for four years at Codman Academy Charter Public School - a K-12 school serving 345 students - in Boston as the Data Manager and Student Recruitment & Enrollment Lead. Through her work, she doubled the number of recruitment events the school held, analyzed student achievement data, created dashboards to drive instructional and operational change, and spearheaded the school’s transition to a new gradebook. She is also Co-Chair of the Young Professionals Board for Friends of the Children-Boston, a non-profit dedicated to providing high-quality 1:1 mentoring.
Rebecca holds a master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from UC San Diego.
62 - 5 Questions Before You Start a Study with Neil Krohn
"When you're thinking about doing a research study, define and design. So you define what you wanna know, then you design how you're gonna find that out. That's everything. Everything goes back to those two words."
If you're one of those people who think that scientific research is just for academic scientists or the lab rats working hard at their lab bench benches with their pipettes, today's episode is for you. I am joined by Neil Krohn, founder and principal of Advanced Healthcare Analytics, to share his expertise in doing research that really matters, and how research isn't just for academic scientists. Stick around till the very end of this episode and learn how your organization, even a small nonprofit, could benefit from designing your own research projects.
Neil Krohn is the founder and principal of Advanced Healthcare Analytics, which provides both quantitative and qualitative analytic services. Neil earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tulsa and completed his post-doctoral fellowship in Administration and Evaluation Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver. For more than 20 years Neil has worked in healthcare analytics in both the public and corporate domains. He is particularly interested in helping organizations design and implement research studies that assist them in defining their goals and furthering their missions. He also taught Statistics and Research Methods to psychology graduate students for many years and served as the research design member on doctoral papers and dissertations. Currently, Neil is launching an initiative to have experts in science and technology share their knowledge in small-group discussions in the community. Neil lives with his wife in Denver, Colorado. He’s an avid cyclist, riding about 150 miles per week on Denver’s amazing trail system.