The mission of United Way of Story County (UWSC) is to be a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support, and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of education, income, and health, for our diverse community. A key component of the mission – evaluate effective human services – explains how we determine whether the financial investments we make in programs are making a difference. And that is important.
By the summer of 2016, the UWSC board of directors had identified results in the community focusing in the areas of Education, Income and Health. The next step was to determine how we measure success. We worked with our partner agencies to determine performance measures that would demonstrate the impact each program has on individuals. Performance measures will be shared among similar programs to show the collective impact of the work being done.
To track the progress of these performance measures, UWSC invested in a results-based accountability system called Clear Impact Scorecard. Agencies will begin to report their annual measures on July 1. The scorecards will be a way for UWSC to communicate to donors how their gifts impact the community. Clear Impact Scorecard also gives agencies the ability to explain what the program does, who it serves and how it makes a difference.
A significant benefit of the scorecard is its ability to track changes through the coming years. Within the current funding processes, only data from the previous year is reviewed. Clear Impact Scorecard will help the volunteers of each ASSET (Analysis of Social Services Evaluation Team) funder see the effectiveness of specific program data over time, which they will use to make funding recommendations in the future. Two other ASSET funders, the city of Ames and Story County, have agreed to help UWSC cover the site licenses for all of the agencies.
UWSC has already posted a few scorecards to our website. They can be found at http://www.uwstory.org/how-we-measure-success. To view a scorecard, click on View Scorecard under one of the headings of Education, Income or Health. To view additional information for each Result (R), click on the words of the result or the plus sign beside an Indicator (I). The information currently on the Website is just the beginning of showing the impact that UWSC’s donors’ dollars make in the community.
Kim Mack is marketing director for United Way of Story County.