How can data support help you? Whether you just want to streamline collecting your performance measures or you want to embark on a journey to take charge of using your data to tell your stories, Best Starts for Kids data support consultants can meet you where you are and help you take the next steps. Last week, we introduced them. This week, we’re back to share stories of how they’ve worked with Best Starts partners to support their data goals.
You can meet our data support consultants and learn more about how they can help you on our webinar:
If you’re interested in working with a data support consultant, let us know! You can contact your program manager or evaluator, the data team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or submit a request at www.surveymonkey.com/r/bskdatasupport. There’s no wrong door.
WestSide Baby’s Story
WestSide Baby meets the basic needs of children to promote safety, security, and healthy development. The organization provides essential items to keep children safe, warm and dry by collecting and distributing diapers, clothing, and equipment throughout Western King County. In March, WestSide Baby, like many organizations, significantly revamped operations to ensure that their provider partners could pick up the diapers, safety equipment, and hygiene items needed for their clients as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in a way that was safe for everyone.
Also in March, WestSide Baby was paired with a data support consultant, Alessandra Pollock of Crux, with plans to support the emerging data needs of the diaper bank program. During this increasingly busy time, Alessandra offered capacity work in the background to build an evaluation framework for use immediately and into the future. To support data needs related to pivoting operations, Alessandra worked with WestSide Baby’s Public Affairs Manager, Toni Sarge, by collaborating on the design of new surveys, including a key informant survey to help with expanded bulk distribution operations and a quick survey for provider partners to get feedback on new distribution procedures. In addition, Alessandra supported ongoing evaluation efforts that had been identified before the pandemic hit, such as program theory visualization, an evaluation plan, mapping and data visualizations and other technical assistance.
Though their meetings remained in the virtual world, with WestSide Baby’s needs changing week-by-week, the partnership has been extremely helpful to guide the nonprofit’s ongoing work to not only better understand the successes and challenges of the program, but also continually talking about next steps for improvement, story/data sharing, and advocacy opportunities that come from these evaluation efforts.
Toni had this to add about the capacity building support: “Alessandra’s work in the background has been game changing for WestSide Baby during this time where all nonprofits, including WestSide Baby, are at capacity for almost everything, a time where evaluation work can easily get pushed aside. Working with Alessandra allowed us to continue this important priority, even during shifted COVID operations, and allowed me to complete projects such as a mid-year evaluation update to our Staff and Board of Directors, important geographic distribution data mapping, and survey creation that I absolutely would not have had time for without her help. These materials, and the materials we continue to create together, will support our program through this year and years to come. In addition to all of the evaluation support, Alessandra and I were able to exchange hiking recommendations, physically-distant activities to do with our families, and supporting each other during an ongoing, sometimes draining, work from home life with minimal connection to the community!”
“I am honored to support the innovative and creative work happening at WestSide Baby. I learned so much as I contributed to meeting WestSide Baby’s data needs during this major pivot to programming. And I was grateful to share context and resources from the field. Best Starts for Kid’s data capacity building program allowed us to stay connected and work flexibly, responding to emerging needs as they came. This kind of backbone support will continue to be critical as organizations consider how to reopen while continuing some virtual or changed programming.”Alessandra Pollock
Partners in Education Reform and Student Success’s Story
Tamika Moseley is a new staff member at Partners in Education Reform and Student Success (PERSS), working with children and families. PERSS’ role involves providing leadership to address trauma informed practices, racism, equity, and preparing successful transitioning from elementary to middle school. PERSS’ mission is to provide program changes, support educators and its community in creating a positive school climate. It was July and she had been assigned the responsibility of completing the Best Starts For Kids semi-annual progress report. She was new not only to Best Starts for Kids, but also to the process of reporting to a funder. Tamika sought the support of MPHI-Seattle, one of the data support consultants, to help support her through the process.
The consultants at MPHI-Seattle value authentic relationships and culturally responsive practice; this was no different. They leaned into relationship with Tamika, learning more about her professional experiences as a nutritionist and health educator and encouraging her to leverage her strengths in communication in telling PERSS’ story about supporting children and families during the pandemic.
In that first session, PERSS and MPHI-Seattle also focused on performance measures. Specifically, they discussed the performance measures PERSS chose to report to Best Starts and identified sources of data for the report. Based on her current relationship-building work with families, she was already collecting data that could be used for the report. In the next two sessions, they focused on crafting the report. Together, they walked through the reporting template and reviewed drafts of the report she had completed.
At the end of the process, Tamika was pleased with the results. Overall, the process helped what could have been a stressful, time-consuming process – reporting – into a learning exercise and professional development opportunity.
“Being new to the team and having such a great task set before me was surely an honor, but, at the same time I was extremely nervous. It was a lot of information and a bit overwhelming but with the continued support and guidance provided by the team (Arnold, Ebony, and Tracy), this made the reporting process very easy and simple to complete.”Tamika Moseley
help not related to data and evaluation? Don’t forget that Best Starts for Kids’ capacity builders can help with finances, human resources, IT, legal questions, equity, organizational development, and more. Talk to your program manager to get connected.