What is an “Impact Rapid Program”? Was that your first question? If so, we’re glad you asked. Because so many nonprofits struggle with data use and measurement practices (often due to a lack of resources/human capital or both), we created the Impact Rapid program, which is a 6-month experience where participants get at taste of the full data use cycle. Participants also engage in a rapid theory of change process and identify one key learning question they need to answer, using data.
The ResultsLab team models a continuous learning practice with the team, helping them identify, collect, interpret, and use the data to answer their chosen question and drive improvement. To ensure continued practice, participants have access to online learning modules and tools, as well.
HIGHLIGHTING OUR LATEST COHORT OF IMPACT RAPID PARTICIPANTS
From the fall of 2018 to the spring of 2019, ResultsLab supported Tony Grampsas Youth Services grantees through the Impact Rapid process. The cohort consisted of four grassroots organizations looking to grow their data practice to more effectively and efficiently measure their work. Organizations in this cohort participated in the performance measurement cycle completing the Design, Measure, and Act phases over six months.
Three of the organizations in the cohort were small grassroots organizations in the Denver Metro region, while one organization that participated is a bit bigger and is located in Boulder. All the organizations who participated are direct service providers that work with youth. The following organizations made up the 2019-19 cohort: Street Fraternity, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN), Colorado Circles for Change (CCFC), and Elevating Connections.
Participating organizations were each matched with a ResultsLab coach. Coaches and organizations met monthly, and organizations participated in two webinars and two in-person workshop sessions led by ResultsLab. As a result of the process, each organization identified a key learning question, developed the measurement approach to answering the question, collected data, analyzed the data, and used the data.
KEY OUTCOMES FOR IMPACT RAPID ORGANIZATIONS
The intended outcome of the Impact Rapid program is for each nonprofit organization involved to build a positive organizational culture around data use across key staff/stakeholders, while also strengthening their program model and measurement practice. From their evaluation survey, our participants most often mentioned the following outcomes:
- Increased data use skills
- Data collection that is focused on the right indicators
- Heightened confidence in applying data tools to different contexts
PROGRAM PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK
Our program participants had a lot to say when it came time for feedback about the Impact Rapid program. Hear some of their voices:
- “Having [the coach] brought accountability. Having someone outside [of my organization] was huge.”– Impact Rapid Participant
- “The flexibility of the [ResultsLab staff] was very beneficial. [The coaches] had the flexibility and adaptability to fit into our operation hours. In addition, they were flexible in fitting into how we do what we do – so beneficial.” – Impact Rapid Participant
- “I didn’t realize that this one tool we developed could be used in so many different ways. It has triggered for us how we can expand and collect data around other programs and events we have throughout the year.” – Impact Rapid Participant
- “[I recommend] making [this process] focused on small organizations. Not forgetting the little guy, there are more of us little organizations who are doing this work.”- Impact Rapid Participant
- “Structure, structure, structure. It was as simple as having that interaction with [my coaches], having those coaching sessions helped us build those structures.” – Impact Rapid Participant
WHAT WE LEARNED
Organizations’ relationships with their coaches were what made this program a success. Time and time again organizations emphasized that their connection with their coach was critical to their success in this cohort.
Organizations appreciated that the ResultsLab team balanced flexibility and structure effectively so the work could move forward. The ResultsLab team made sure organizations moved through each step of the Impact Rapid process so that organizations walked away with the deliverables they needed. However, they also approached the work with an attitude of flexibility. The team’s ability to balance these two opposites paid off with the organizations.