Implementing a well-developed method for data collection and analysis for whatever type of evaluation is crucial for any business or organization. This is because such evaluations, when executed well, will have long-term effects in the form of better programs and policies for the company. If you happen to implement impact evaluations in your company, then you’ll find the following data collection practices helpful for your organization.
What are Impact Evaluations?
Impact management is an ongoing, disciplined approach to using data and evidence across every level and of programming and operations for a particular organization. With this approach, everything starts with an impact evaluation, which is the process of measuring the impact of any program or policy. Impact evaluations aim to understand up to what extent the impact can be attributed to the program or policy, so decision-makers make their judgments on its value.
In simpler terms, impact evaluations are like a thorough self-assessment of your company, focusing on the impact of whatever policies you already have in place.
Data Collection Practices for Impact Evaluations
There are many methods for data collection and analysis, especially for impact management. So, it’s only logical to choose the most appropriate ones to answer the key valuation questions and assist stakeholders in making decisions about the program or policy. The following are just two data collection and analysis best practices that could help you understand where you and your organization fall along the maturity scale of a business.
1. What Evidence Should I be Collecting?
To perform data collection, it’s crucial for organizations to have a comprehensive, clear set of key performance indicators. These indicators will track all the inputs and outputs, activities, and outcomes in the organization, which will all be instrumental in building evidence of your program’s effectiveness. It’s important to remember that these metrics should measure what really matters in your company rather than simply what’s possible or easy to measure.
2. Think About What’s Practical for Your Organization
Collecting good data is crucial for the success of the evaluation. You need to be practical with this. Even a metric that aligns perfectly with your theory of change won’t be useful if you can’t collect good data. On the other hand, if your process of collecting data will take more resources than you can devote to the task, then it might be best to consider another tactic. You need to consider the following factors if you want to become practical about how you collect your data:
- Your organization’s technical capacity.
- Your organization’s methodological and analytical capacity.
- How realistic it is to acquire the data needed for the evaluation.
- Will the data-sharing agreements be sufficient and necessary?
- Is the metric relevant to the participants in your organization?
It’s essential to maintain a system of evidence building and information sharing for this undertaking. When data and key learnings are shared publicly, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your data collection efforts.
Data collection and analysis practices, especially on impact evaluations, should be chosen to match your company’s particular evaluation questions and resources. They need to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses if your evaluations are to be successful for your impact management initiatives.
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