As the conversation around funding social good organizations revolves increasingly about outcomes and impact, one of the biggest challenges is around figuring out how to go about proving that. The textbook academic response is to run a big randomized control trial, but what does that mean for organizations that focus on community-building events? Or spaces? What is the right data to be looking at so that each organization can speak to outcomes and impact in a way that makes sense for them?
One recent read that spoke to me was about the CART principles for data collection: focusing on making sure that data is credible, actionable, responsible, and transportable. Credible and transportable data gets a lot of air time in measurement and evaluation circles, but from a tactical perspective I think the following are worth highlighting: 1) making sure that we are actionable - committed to acting on the data we collect (versus data simply for knowledge or storytelling), and 2) being responsible - not just from an ethical perspective, but ensuring that the benefits of data collection outweigh the costs.
The article, toolkit, and resources for thinking about and setting up data collection using the CART principles are here.