Nonprofits need program evaluation software for collecting, tracking, analyzing, and reporting on information about individual programs. Program evaluation provides a wide range of benefits, but small nonprofits often assume finding effective solutions will require a lot of time and money.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case for program evaluation in 2021. Today’s technology paves the way for even simple solutions to make significant impacts. Read on for our top 5 reasons why nonprofits of any size can benefit from program evaluation software.
Program Evaluation Software for Nonprofits
Even for small nonprofits, today’s software technology makes program evaluation a powerful strategy in 2021. Creating a comprehensive evaluation plan can often seem like a tall order, however. The thought of it alone can overwhelm even the most resourceful organization managers, especially those in small nonprofits or in their growth stage. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as many fear when getting started.
An effective evaluation can start with something as basic as a brief interview with a client. Clients can tell you how well services are functioning, how they perceive the experience, and what more your services can provide in the future. That’s a lot of information, all from a single campaign. Program evaluation really doesn’t have to be extensive to be valuable.
Data on seemingly simple parts of the organization can provide a wealth of benefits. All you need is a systematic way to collect, track, analyze, and report on data. Insights from these efforts can help you attract more funding, expand community relationships, and create a more positive culture in your organization. More importantly, program evaluation can help nonprofits boost outcomes and efficiency by helping to identify, replicate, and scale their impact.
5 ways nonprofits can benefit from program evaluation software
What a nonprofit needs from program evaluation software will be different from one organization to the next. However, there are some general features all organizations should consider. Firstly, the software needs to be flexible enough to meet changing demands. It must also be simple to use, and should have features for case management and outcome tracking.
With these steps in place, program evaluation becomes much easier and productive. It likewise provides wide ranging benefits to the organization’s impact and overall sustainability. In more detail, here are the top 5 reasons why nonprofits of all sizes need effective program evaluation software.
Program evaluation can attract more funding
Foundations, grantmakers, and donors are more likely to invest in an organization when it can clearly demonstrate its impact. They’re looking for agencies that can prove consistent, positive outcomes in the communities they serve. This means that, at the least, nonprofits should have a system in place for program evaluation.
If it’s a small or growing nonprofit, this is crucial in the early stages. Grantmakers often stipulate nonprofits have at minimum an evaluation strategy as a condition for funding. Program evaluation shows commitment to quality, and more importantly to outcomes.
While program evaluation might not be as necessary for individual donors, they also like to see real results. Concrete data from program evaluation software provide these. It also conveys the message that your nonprofit is forward-looking as well as able to effectively demonstrate and communicate impacts and outcomes.
Attract more community volunteers and partnerships
Program evaluation software also helps nonprofits share data they collect across their wider network. Contacts often include local businesses, other nonprofits, and government agencies. Sharing data creates avenues for communication within the network, and it also demonstrates your value to the community.
This extends to possible volunteers and contacts who may be looking to contribute, but they want to know how their individual efforts can truly help. The more they know about what they can do, or how they have already helped, the more likely they are to contribute more.
Create a more positive culture in your organization
Sometimes, no matter how passionate a team member or manager is about a program, it simply isn’t the best way forward. Either the program isn’t showing results, or worse it just does not work. This is where program evaluation software helps nonprofits objectively analyze, visualize, and report on programs and outcomes. Data can help you recognize programs to support, and identify those that are lacking.
In the end, the sustainability of the agency is going to hinge on continuous evaluation, assessment, and data-driven decision-making. No matter how much commitment and passion the agency might have for its programs, there should always be solid data to support the efforts. Ongoing evaluation will not only ensure the agency is supporting the right programs, but also helps measure success and to adjust approaches when possible or necessary.
Boost outcomes and efficiency
Boosting outcomes and efficiency is another key benefit to using program evaluation software. By identifying what works and what does not, managers can prioritize improving on individual parts of program models, program design and service delivery.
Improving and eliminating programs ensures you allocate resources to where they are most useful. This produces savings in time, money, and effort — all while boosting overall efficiency and outcomes.
Reproduce and scale your impact
Finally, when you prioritize program evaluation, you are able to better identify successful programs and decide on which ones to scale in the future. This could involve expanding existing programs (possibly with the additional funding you gained from your evaluation), or sharing your success across the wider community of social good agencies.
Even if you’re running a smaller nonprofit, the information you collect from program evaluation can be a valuable asset for other agencies in your network. Sharing any critical insights you gain helps others optimize their programs, and ultimately benefits the communities you aim to serve. It also makes your nonprofit a thought-leader
To discover more about program evaluation software for nonprofits
Looking for the best program evaluation software for your nonprofit? ABCD (A Better Community Database) can help. ABCD software provides software solutions for program evaluation, case management, and outcome tracking. Our software is highly customizable to meet a wide range of non-profit data management needs, and it was designed to be simple, smart, and flexible.
To learn what ABCD can do for your organization, contact us today to schedule a free 1:1 consultation.