Over the last decade, I’ve founded or served on the boards of several non-profits in Philadelphia. Through these experiences, I’ve seen first hand the deep passion non-profit leaders bring to their work. But I’ve also seen first hand how challenging it can be to share their impact with the broader community.
I still distinctly remember my first funder meeting as a non-profit leader almost a decade ago. I had spent hours wordsmithing our slides again and again to get the message just right. And when I finished my pitch, this funder (who will remain unnamed) looked at me sympathetically and in a slightly condescending tone, said, “that’s all very interesting, but how do you know if what you’re doing is actually having an impact?” To which, I had no response.
What I’ve come to realize in my time working in the civic space in Philadelphia is that my experience was not unique. The Greater Philadelphia region has thousands of non-profit organizations working tirelessly to make an impact in the community. However, these organizations don’t typically have the expertise or capacity they need to meaningfully use data to drive organizational improvement.
So how do we support leaders to maximize their impact by combining passion with strategic use of data? That is the work of ImpactED. We bridge the worlds of research and practice in order to help organizations answer that inevitable question – how do you know if what you’re doing is working? And more importantly, what’s next?
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