Even Advice-Givers Can Evaluate Their Impact
Whether it’s a nonprofit, a professional association, or an issue advocacy body, evaluating the effectiveness of an organization is both critical and extremely difficult. It requires not only interrogating the strategic goals and overall values of the organization, but taking apart and examining all its different parts to make sure they’re executing those goals and values fully.
This blog has covered how the nonprofit advisory group NTEN provides help to those groups trying to evaluate the efficacy of technologically-driven parts of their organizations. Now, NTEN has turned the magnifying glass of organizational practice upon itself. On its website, it’s published its internal impact evaluation, which it’s worked on since 2011, “to identify outcomes, indicators, and discrete measurements to help us answer to the questions of what we do and if it is working.”
The plan walks through the key operating assumptions about its broader context in the world (in this case, the nonprofit sector) under which it operates, the strategies it’s developed, and the short-term and ultimate outcomes it’s trying to accomplish. Importantly, the evaluation also includes the key questions that NTEN’s leaders ask themselves to measure what it’s trying to accomplish — ensuring that technology helps other nonprofits achieve their missions.
NTEN’s CEO Amy Sample Ward said that the group decided to share its self-evaluation “to engage the community (nonprofits, technology vendors and services providers, funders, and partners) in helping explore and identify where we could or should do more, where there’s room for growth, where we may be doing well and can keep moving.”
Even for those with no ties to the nonprofit sector, this impact evaluation is an excellent best practice model.