Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Generocity.org’s first Impact Solutions meetup of the year. Focused on the theme of measuring impact, the meetup featured speakers from three very different types of organizations united by the love of and hunger for data-driven action. You can see a recap of their presentations here and follow the discussion on #ImpSolPHL.
There are many data collection methodologies, metrics, and data sets out there in the world of social impact. Whether or not it is feasible to establish a standard set of impact metrics is one of the big questions of 2016. What would happen if we shared or consolidated efforts more? On one hand, we risk incomplete or plain wrong data, and on the other hand we face analysis paralysis from too many and inconsistent metrics. Whatever the solution, we first need a better understanding of who’s doing what and who can do it best.
Now under Technically Media*, Generocity.org is doing exciting new things under new leadership and a transformed organization. Right out of the gate, they are doing a fantastic job creating space and opportunities to share success stories, connect people, and keep the conversation going on topics like these.
Three points from last night embody the spirit of sharing successes in impact measurement:
- If Aeris Insight is successful in creating a standard set of community investment metrics for community development financing institutions (CDFI’s), this would be something that can be adopted across the entire industry, just as GAAP, USDA, Fair Trade, LEED, and B Corp standards have done to their respective spheres.
- Like any other program or initiative, arts and culture organizations need to be data-driven to successfully target the right communities, provide the right supports, and secure the right funding. Given that arts and culture initiatives are especially strapped for cash these days, using the Cultural Alliance’s data and findings as a launch pad can save a lot of time and resources for smaller nonprofits looking to make impact in the space.
- As Fairmount CDC’s story shows, you don’t need to be an advanced data scientist to appreciate and leverage data. There are simple, open-access tools like OnTheMap (using local employment dynamics data from the US Census) and The Reinvestment Fund’s PolicyMap, which pulls from other sets of data providers
I attended this event both as a representative of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative and as an eager Philadelphian who wants to see positive social change in this city, and I was reminded that community is an essential aspect of “community impact.”. There’s something about the energy, the growth trajectory of the space, the youth of the entrepreneurs, the openness of the investors, the place-based pride of the ventures that makes me so encouraged and excited to work in this city at this time. If you want a good example of this, check out two of my new friends, MyMilkCrate and TechGirlz.
Generocity.org’s February 10 meetup will focus on diversity and inclusion on the workplace. Can’t wait.
*Correction: This post was edited 1/19 to clarify that Generocity.org is part of Technically Media, which is the umbrella for Generocity and Technical.ly in all its markets
Stephanie Kim MPA’16, serves WSII as the Associate Director of Community Strategy. She brings a background in international development, social entrepreneurship, and volunteer management to drive urban impact partnerships, research community development best practices, and test entrepreneurial community impact solutions.