I’m in Jacksonville, Florida today to open the plenary session of the Legal Services Corporation Technology Innovation Grant Annual gathering. The last time I keynoted was five years ago!
This session is my first interactive keynote based on the content of my book, “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” co-authored with KD Paine. I’m working on developing the curriculum for this book as I did for my first book, The Networked Nonprofit, co-authored with Alison Fine.
In today’s complicated and networked world, legal services organizations need to adapt and improve their programs and fine tune their networks at a much faster pace than ever before. In order to scale social justice outcomes, legal services needs to embrace the process of collecting and making sense of data to improve programs and get results. It’s not enough to collect data, the real magic happens when applied to decision making, becoming a data-informed organization.
Many organizations perceive the skills involved in making sense of data to be beyond their organizational capabilities. But in reality it’s not math skills they need, but an understanding of how the organization works, what is important, and learning from failures as well as success. It also requires an institutionalized process beyond having a staff person (or an intern) quickly generate a couple of charts and graphs from a spreadsheet brimming full of trivial data.
This interactive session will provide practical information on how to use data for social change. While most organizations are using technology to realize their missions, few are effectively measuring the results. In a resource constrained world, measurement is seen as – “yet another thing to do for our to do list” or a feeling a helplessness “we don’t have that expertise on staff.”
I’m taking a small bet and presenting some ideas about getting past set backs and failure from my colleague Peter Sims. I’ll report back on that, but for now if you want to check out other resources, they’re here.