INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of mission-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
ForGood works with social sector organizations whose focus is improving people’s lives around the world. With our team of Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) specialists and easy-to-use mobile applications, we implement monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as an ongoing business process with all stakeholders. By helping organizations answer tough questions using data and a variety of indicators, ForGood facilitates continuous program improvements that result in greater impact.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
We love when donors get excited about successful programs and support organizations committed to effective programs, not only efficiency.
M&E is the tool by which organizations learn if their programs are accomplishing their intended goals, determine if the organization is realizing its mission, and measure to what degree participants or beneficiaries are better off by having participated in the program. Finding the answers to these questions helps organizations become more effective, enter into fruitful partnerships, and share evidence about the impact in the communities they serve.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
• Allowing small and mid-sized nonprofits to have the measuring and reporting systems typically only utilized by the largest NGOs
• Bringing a business process to an outdated evaluation sector that truly incorporates Planning and Learning with Monitoring & Evaluation
• Providing technology and human capital that improve international development standards and decrease the reporting feedback loop
• We are making adjustments and learning from a larger group of users than nonprofits typically can when they work with a customized system, tool, or consultant.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Many organizations are doing great work, and we want to help them highlight their successes and learn from their data. But it’s not just about the organization itself. We know that ultimately, when M&E is implemented, and staff members start learning more about their programs, they can improve those programs to better serve their target population. For instance, through our combined effort, an organization working to provide education to girls in Tanzania discovers that many of its students drop out of school around grade 5. By completing our household surveys, the organization learns that once students reach that age, they become vulnerable to sexual assault on the walk to school. Rather than risk assault, they drop out. In response, the organization begins to provide security guards or a walking buddy program along the most dangerous roads the girls must travel. As a result, more girls stay in school and proceed to completion. Those girls, and every other person served by our member organizations, inspire us.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Ultimately, we want to bring together organizations and develop partnerships that result in sharing data and altering the international development landscape to increase impact through learning. By bringing together various development actors and analyzing larger sets of data collected through their efforts, ForGood can help influence community development to be more effective than it is currently with segmented efforts and fractured data sets.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
The more members ForGood has, the more data we can collect and the greater value we will be able to provide our current members and the international development field. Each member brings another opportunity to learn as a collaboration, and more importantly, they bring another test case for the M&E models that our team continues to improve.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Helping organizations understand that M&E doesn’t have to be a burden and that using our system will not add significantly to their employees’ responsibilities has been a challenge. Historically, M&E has been the burden of a single person in many organizations, but we want to change that: we want to demonstrate how and why it is everyone’s responsibility and that it is simple to do. Furthermore, people are intimidated by technology and underestimate their international partners’ abilities. With our technology in use in Uganda, Peru, the Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo, and many other countries, we have more than proved that it is possible to use in virtually every context.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Be persistent. Sometimes people won’t understand your vision or may question your methods, but stick to it. Find people who want to partner with you and invest in those partnerships. Remember, there is no ribbon for running the first 25 miles of a marathon.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Tell everyone! If you support or work for an organization that is ready to make a huge leap in its monitoring and evaluation effort, contact us and we would love to start a discussion with you!
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations is an award-winning communications agency that generates awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for mission-driven organizations. We amplify their voice and reach so they can increase their impact. If you would like to be featured on INSPIRED IMPACT, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.