Data is the Key

I’ve said this the past couple of weeks, but I still can’t believe the fellowship is soon coming to an end. I’ve been working hard to wrap up my final report and putting the finishing touches of other projects. It’s been an amazing experience to get a first-hand view of what it is like to work full-time at a nonprofit organization.

I started off the week by going to Prevent Blindness Ohio to meet with their President and CEO, Sherill Williams. I met with her for a couple of hours to discuss the information management system research I have been doing at her organization and reveal to her some of my key findings. She has been at PVO for a very long time (I forget exactly, but I believe it was something between 20-30 years) and it was great to get her input on the things I observed. I gained some valuable information on how their organization has been able to be so successful, IMG_2925as well as some advice about the nonprofit career world in general.

I told her about the fellows learning session where we talked about how storytelling is the key to nonprofits, but she was able to further analyze that it all starts with valuable data when it comes to telling a story. With GroundWork group’s information management tool, Prevent Blindness Ohio is able to gather the information  necessary for telling the story they need for grants and donors. Without the ability to track how many people you served, see which county they reside in, see their demographics, or other key information, you are unable to construct the story of your nonprofit. Data is the key to storytelling.

IMG_2924Tuesday, I had the chance to go to a Civic IMS Users group at Easter Seals in Hilliard. Users of GroundWork group’s Civic tool got together to learn about how other nonprofit organizations use the tool.  It was a good mix of people who were new and wanted to learn more and people who had been using the tool for over 20 years. The only surprisingly thing to mention was that all the attendees were women!

For the rest of the week I sat in on meetings, started putting together some things for the final presentation, and worked more on my report. It’s nice to see everything coming together, but I’m trying to make sure I don’t burn myself from only working on one thing for the whole day. I’m realizing this summer the important of multi-tasking. Having multiple projects going on at the same time helps mix up the work day and make time fly.

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