Monday, July 21, 2008

More data

Here's an email I received in response to the "Data, Data Everywhere" post. Notes another resource to the ever growing list and begs a question from me - what is the right "level" at which to try to gather/clean/present/analyze NGO data? The Minnesota example below suggests a statewide approach - does this work?

Here is the email:

... I would like it you could add our own web site,, to your list. We are a 60 year old organization that changed our services so that we could provide more information better by launching a new web site and the Accountability Wizard. The Accountability Wizard is a mostly on-line voluntary review available to any nonprofits registered to fundraise in Minnesota. Here are the standards we use. The biggest shift in our approach is that we will provide a little time and basic technical assistance in order to meet our standards. Basically we allow about two months after the review to make changes. In doing this we have moved from a more standard watchdog to more like a mentor. We have reviewed about 350 organizations with another 50 in various stages of the review. The review is meant to educate the nonprofit participants and to help them to check in on their own accountability and transparency.

We are also in the very early stages of setting up a process to revise our standards. There are many reasons for updating them but one area that both donors and nonprofit professionals have pointed out is that our current reports show very little in the way of activities, results, outcomes, impact, etc. We may be able to make a big difference in building trust in nonprofits with the current changes and others in the works. In my own market scans I have noticed that small to medium sized nonprofits are not well represented. There is much more I could discuss about this issue. We are learning a lot here that could add to the discussion.

While I wrote this as an email rather than a comment (I thought it was too long.), please feel free to share it with anyone.

Check out the Wizard Blog.

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