“How do I know my donation is really changing lives?”
It’s a great question. United Way BCKR is determined to answer it.
“Last year, we set powerful, long-term goals for the toughest challenges we face as a region,” said Matt Lynn, Director of Community Impact. “It’s vital that we measure our progress.
“One, we need to know what we’re doing well and where we need to do things differently. Two, our donors want to know their investment is moving the needle,” Lynn added.
Earlier this year, United Way BCKR and AGS Data LLC joined forces to measure progress on goals across all United Way programs, partnerships and collaborations. AGS Data studies lots of resources—resident surveys, partner and program reports, government and nonprofit databases, etc.—to analyze what’s changing, what’s driving change, where change happens, and who benefits.
Alberta Griffin, President of AGS Data, said her company conducted a descriptive study of residents in Kalamazoo County and the City of Battle Creek who received services through 85 United Way funded programs between November 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. This study will feed a full-year, comprehensive report due in 2018.
“We have the capability to measure and report in real time the cumulative impact of all United Way investments and engagement strategies across all four goal areas,” Griffin said. “What’s more, we can map the needs and the impact by individual communities, by ZIP codes, even by neighborhoods.”
Added Lynn, “That knowledge helps us understand where we’re making progress, where investments and engagement are driving the greatest return, and where we may need new strategies to accelerate that impact.”
Lynn said United Way BCKR will gather and report data on a continual basis. Like any business or investor, United Way—and our donors—want to know their investments yield results.
“We all want a community that’s strong in every way—economically, culturally, and rich in opportunities for everyone to realize their full potential,” Lynn said. “Measuring progress helps us all know we’re on the right path.”
United Way BCKR has designated Nov. 13-17 as Impact Week. Each day we’ll post some results from the study with AGS Data on our blog:
To see a complete list of our impact goals, visit The Challenge webpage here.