In recent blog posts, I highlighted how each community foundation in the DonorEdge Learning Community (DELC) is transforming philanthropy in their communities by new strategies, nontraditional collaborations, and a culture of willingness to experiment. In many of these efforts, the DELC uses DonorEdge nonprofit profile data internally for improved grantmaking and organizational efficiency, shares the data with community funders and stakeholders, and presents the knowledge from DonorEdge data with donors and the community at large to increase community philanthropy and affect positive social change. The DELC are now at various points of reflection and are assessing the return on investment (ROI) experienced to date with their individual organizations and collectively in sector leadership.
The 16 community foundations members of the DELC are diverse:
- Founding years of 1915-2000
- Asset sizes of $14 million-$1 billion+
- Staff sizes from 3-60
- Service areas of one county to two states
- DonorEdge implementations from 2002-current
- DonorEdge sites with 70-1,300 nonprofit profiles
Because of these diverse demographics, the criteria and framework of reflection and ROI is also diverse. Regardless of this challenge, we continued the conversation and presented ground-breaking progress in assimilating evidence-based, quantitative metrics to demonstrate the ROI for improved DELC organizational effectiveness, capacity building of nonprofits in their communities, and ultimately positive social change at the 2013 DonorEdge Learning Community Annual Conference. Some of the metrics used to build this quantifiable story of ROI and social change are:
- Web analytics
- Cost efficiencies and higher quality information for grant making for the community foundation and funders, and grant application submissions for nonprofits
- Change over time:
- Community foundation asset size, contributions, grants
- Number of nonprofits creating and maintaining DonorEdge profiles
- Aggregated and sector nonprofit reports
- Educational curriculum offered at local universities
- Stakeholder surveys
As this exciting evidenced-based story of social change takes shape, more information will be shared through this GuideStar Blog.
The DELC has data from almost 6,000 DonorEdge nonprofit profiles. Aligned with this growth and technological innovation at GuideStar, we will soon announce exciting changes in the design, look, and pricing of DonorEdge. GuideStar will have a DonorEdge that fits your community foundation just right!
Lori Larson is senior director of GuideStar DonorEdge and is responsible for GuideStar’s market and product strategy for DonorEdge, and growth of and customer relations of the DonorEdge Learning Community. Prior to joining GuideStar, Lori worked for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, leading teams including knowledge development, nonprofit outreach, and donor relations. Previous to her foundation work, Lori was the operations manager of a multi-entity oil and gas corporation in Houston, Texas, and was assistant publisher of a software company in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Lori holds a B.A. in Economics, With Distinction, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and an MBA in Finance from Baker College Center for Graduate Studies. Lori holds a Ph.D. (ABD) in Leadership and Organizational Change at Walden University. Her dissertation, “Adaptive Business Models for Community Foundation Resilience,” is in progress with expected full doctorate graduation December 2013. You may reach Lori directly at email@example.com.