Outcomes Maturity Assessment

June 8, 2016

As you’re aware, there is a transformational shift occurring in the giving sector from traditional philanthropy to results-focused giving dedicated to achieving greater impact. This shift has accelerated interest in tracking and measuring outcomes and impact. As we speak with our customers and other practitioners about this, we find that organizations are at different points along what we could call a journey toward outcomes and impact measurement. Some are at the very beginning of the journey, asking the question, How do I even get started? And some are at a midway point where they need to perhaps convince others in their organization to make this important shift, or are at the point where they need technology to help them track and measure outcomes and impact. Yet others may be quite far along in the journey and may just need to fine-tune their programs.

This spectrum of experience, combined with hearing our customers and other practitioners express a clear desire to continue moving along in their journeys, led us to partner with The Rensselaerville Institute and create the Outcomes Maturity Model. This assessment tool will help you understand where your organization is, which will help you to understand what you need to do to get to the goal of being a results-driven organization that tracks and measures outcomes and impact.

The assessment takes just a few minutes to complete.

Can you find your organization in here? Do you want to build your organizations ability to track, report and leverage results? Here are some changes you can make to your grant making to further your organizations outcome maturity level:

Maturity Level

Changes to Grant Making

Minimal

In order to grow your organization's outcomes maturity, your focus should be on:

1. Making a paradigm shift from funder to investor so you have a mindset and value for impact;

Funder Focus

  • Our business is funding groups and programs
  • Our core know-how is grantmaking
  • We know how to allocate money within defined categories

Investor Focus

  • Our business is results
  • Our core know-how is creating the strongest possible improvements in human lives and conditions for the dollars available

2. Defining your organizations Results Framework that connects organizational strategy to desired impact for each of your core initiatives or program areas.

Basic

1. Ask for consistent Metrics within a program area – key to being able to compare programs/grants, roll-up data and determined your overall impact is asking for apple to apple measurements.

2. Add some results focused questions to your strategic applications:

  • What results are you committed to achieving for the people and places you serve with this project?
  • How many people or places do you anticipated achieving results within the grant period?
  • How will you know when your project’s results have been achieved?

3. Monitor outcome progress throughout the grant term – don’t wait to the end of the grant term to determine if your grantee is succeeding. Make the relationship a partnership and have check-ins throughout the grant term.

Developing

As you continue your journey to results you can further your organization's reach and grantees results by providing other types of support such as:

Capacity Building – Providing support to NPO’s to help them reduce costs, increase revenue or get stronger results for more participants in a shorter time. The key question to be answered is:

  • What will be different for the NPO and those they serve once capacity implemented?
  • Some examples of Capacity Building results can be increase revenue for NPO, decreased expenses, more participants getting stronger results, etc.

Systemic Change – Working with NPO’s affect change in a macro-level. The key question to be answered is:

  • How will the NPO’s work inform change on a macro-level, including influencing policy or changing practitioner practices? 

Some examples, of Systemic Changes results can be best practices piloted and adopted, policies enacted, etc.

Strategic

Now that you have changed your grant making to results focused thinking, you can start leveraging anticipated results to assess the potential risk & return on individual grants and your overall portfolio to balance your achievement while still learning and growing your impact.

Think about it as you would you own financial investments:

  • How risky is the investment in this grantee/program?
  • How likely are they to succeed and achieve the stated results (return)?
  • Given the dollars we have to invest, how can we balance our giving portfolio to ensure maximum results and maximum learning?

Integrated

Continue down your results journey by leveraging individual grantee performance to inform future grant strategy and program direction.

Individual Grants – has the grantee achieved their stated results?

  • If no, is there something you can do to help them build their capacity or is it time to exit this partnership?
  • If they exceeded their anticipated results, are their results sustainable and should you consider a larger grant in the future

Program or Focus Area

  • Did your overall program or focus area achieve what you expected?
  • Did you have right mix of grantees and support type to achieve the most with your dollars?
  • Are there any results you are seeking to achieve that need to be adjusted?

Overall Organization – Based on your organizations mission and vision, are your areas of focus and the results you are achieving still aligned, or is there something you should be doing differently?

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