Can you believe the year is already over halfway over? Midyear is a perfect time to reflect on the successes you’ve had so far in 2018, both personally and professionally. How are you doing against the goals you set for yourself way back in January? Are you getting the support you need at your job to be able to achieve your goals?
In a midyear review, employees are encouraged to ask their bosses such questions as: in what areas am I doing well? What do you think I need to do differently? What are our most important goals, and how are we performing against those goals? Employees are usually scored based on previously determined quantifiable goals, and next steps are set to ensure they utilize the remaining time in the year to reach those goals.
Have you done a similar exercise with your grantmaking? Evaluating your efforts thus far in the year can help you achieve two goals. First, understand the impact your organization is seeing with its funding efforts so far, and evaluate your current funding mix. Then reconnect with grantees that need some guidance to achieve your shared goals, and pivot new funding projects if you feel there are gaps in your funding priorities based on the current landscape. Second, use this information as an opportunity to drive a conversation with leadership on long-term strategy! Just like with a manager and employee midyear conversation, you should be reporting on your success and challenges, and having a conversation on overall direction and goals.
To drive the achievement of the above two goals, you will need data, just like an employee has with a scorecard. In Blackbaud’s ebook “Is Technology Powering or Hindering Your Organization”, I review several key performance indicators (KPIs) that would aid in the completion of this exercise. When we think about possible evaluation metrics for your organization, they generally fall into two buckets: organizational health and programmatic impact. For a midyear review, both areas are important to consider.
Leadership is going to be very interested in understanding your organizational health at the midyear point. How are you doing against your budget? How much cash do you have on hand? Has your donor retention rate remained steady over the course of the first half of the year? Since donor funds are a large source of income, that’s a very important area to evaluate throughout the year. Finally, consider your level of staffing. Were there gaps or inefficiencies in the first half of the year due to capacity issues? Did you experience a higher than normal turnover rate? When working with a potential grant partner, ask them what and how they’re tracking, so you can plan for the appropriate overhead to support their mission achievement. Presenting your current state of organizational health to leadership helps the organization and board members (or other stakeholders) collaborate to flag priorities for improvement for the second half of the year. After all, you need the required resources to achieve your shared goals with grantees*.
This brings us to the second area of evaluation, programmatic impact. Midyear may not be the midway point for all of your grant programs, which can run on different cycles. But since it does usually mean a board meeting and time for reflection, I’d encourage you to take the time to examine your programs’ success as well. Quantitative metrics like activities, outputs, and program costs are important to look at, as they can influence your budget as we discussed with organizational health. More important, though, is to consider the outcomes and impact of each of your funding projects. Data submitted by your grantee throughout the grants program can dictate how you’re doing against your previously determined goals. With Blackbaud Outcomes, you can analyze the available data, and get a picture of the larger impact your program will have in the desired area. You can also use the technology prior to the completion of a program, providing insight into the current status of the initiative and allowing enough time to pivot if needed to achieve your goals. Go beyond simple outputs. With outcomes KPIs, you can focus on the desired change in status, condition or behavior that results from a particular set of programs or activities.
No matter where you are today with available data, midyear is the perfect time to initiate the conversations needed to drive further data collection, acquire tools for analysis, or open communication with your leadership team. Before you know it, you’ll be planning for next year’s budget and funding initiatives, and these conversations and data points will make that process much more seamless.
Why else is now a good time to get your data metrics in order? bbcon of course! On October 9th-11th in Orlando, we’ll be offering hundreds of sessions that advise on how you can be using your data more strategically, to drive new partnerships, share a stronger impact story, and improve collaboration with your grantees. Register now!
*Do you need improved capacity to satisfy your organizational demands, ASAP? Explore Blackbaud’s Managed Services.