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Four Tips to Use Your National Student Clearinghouse Data

Is your organization working to get more students to and through college? How are you tracking your results and their progress? For many schools and organizations, this can be difficult because you are not in direct communication with the students anymore. National Student Clearinghouse One solution to track post-secondary attainment rates is the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). NSC has information covering about 96% of all U.S. enrollment in public and private collegiate institutions. The NSC data includes information on college enrollment, degree types, institution type and dropout and graduation rates. NSC data will answer several of your key questions, including: How many students are enrolling in post-secondary education and when (1st year after high school or 3 years later)? What

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Why is a Program Evaluation Impact Team so Important?

How does an organization know it’s meeting its goals and objectives?  An outside team can be hired to put tools and systems in place, which is a good start, but investing money in outside consulting only can leave organizations floundering in a constantly evolving reality.  What if instead of investing solely in an outside group, an organization invests simultaneously in its own people?  It is exceedingly important to invest in the right team of people to help an organization to push forward, to evaluate and sustain systems, while keeping a “pulse” on the organization.  That’s what an impact team does.      In a past blog, we talk about the 4 steps of a program evaluation. The impact team would work

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Grants 101 – Types of Grants

We love seeing our partners accelerate their impact and serve their communities in a variety of ways. However, we understand the challenges you face and know that to do good work, you need money.  Grant writing is one strategy for raising funds to accelerate your organization’s impact. There are two types of grants: Foundations and Government and both come with their benefits and challenges. Foundations Foundation grants can be community and public, private and family, or corporate.  According to Giving USA, foundations gave $59.28 billion in 2016. Benefits: Foundation grants are usually broad in scope. They cover a variety of causes and are offered to organizations of all sizes. These grants are usually more flexible. There is often freedom in

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4 Steps to Form an Early Childhood Coalition

You may have heard the term “coalition” and wondered what does that mean.  A coalition is simply when a group of people gather to address an issue that is bigger than what one person or organization can solve on their own. In Indiana, about thirty communities (cities, counties and regions) have formed a coalition that is focused on early childhood education.  Two years ago, it was probably about 15-20 Indiana communities with an early childhood coalition.  What is happening in Indiana and other states that is causing communities to come together around early childhood education and why should your community consider forming an early childhood coalition if you haven’t yet? Coalition Trend The idea of forming a coalition to address

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Event Spotlight: 2017 Indiana Coalition Summit

In this new blog series on community coalitions, we start by highlighting the recent Indiana Coalition Summit. Be on the lookout for future blog posts related to community coalitions! In 2016, Transform Consulting Group managed the planning for the first annual Indiana Summit for Economic Development via Early Learning Coalitions (aka the Indiana Coalition Summit), hosted at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, in partnership with Muncie BY5, Early Learning Indiana, and Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC). This was the first statewide event dedicated to bringing together early learning, business, education, civic, and other community leaders to understand the business case for investment in early childhood. As well, the Indiana Coalition Summit delivered ways to develop and sustain an

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4 Ways to Share Data Publicly

Congratulations! You successfully gathered data to look deeper into the effectiveness of your programs, decided WHO you’re sharing the information with and now it’s time to figure out HOW to share the data. We talked about the different audiences you should share your data with in this blog, such as internally with staff and volunteers and externally with funders and partners. Once you determine your audience, you may decide on a variety of ways to communicate your latest information. First, it’s important to know your audience and be willing to shape your message in a way that is easy to understand and compelling. Some things to consider about your audience may include their age, educational background, industry or non-industry, and

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Our Go To Sources for Data

Whether you are working on a needs assessment, evaluating a program or starting a new project, reliable data is important to help make smart choices.  Due to the internet, data is available at our fingertips, but the endless options can become overwhelming.  Have you ever spent hours sorting through links and data sources to find one specific indicator such as the number of individuals in your community with post-secondary education or the poverty rate for a certain age group? At Transform Consulting Group, we are data nerds and can help point you in the right direction to find the data you need to move your organization forward. We have a cheat sheet of the key organizations and resources that we utilize to help us

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You Finally Have Data! Who Should You Share It With and Why?

Imagine your organization recently conducted a program evaluation.  Data was gathered from one of the programs offered and an analysis of the data revealed your program outcomes were met, some even exceeded!  This is exciting news and you want to shout it out from the nearest rooftop… We understand this urge, but there are better (and safer) ways to share your evaluation data.  In this blog, we discuss different audiences with whom an organization might share their evaluation results and the benefits of sharing them. Stay tuned for a future post discussing how to share your evaluation data. At Transform Consulting Group, we love seeing organizations use data to measure and achieve success!  We also love helping organizations “visualize” success in easy-to-understand

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4 Steps of Strategic Planning

We have the privilege of working with a few organizations every year to help them create their “road map” or strategic plan for the next 3-5 years.  In the course of completing these strategic plans, we have developed a formula that guides the process following four key steps. 1. Collaborate Good strategic plans are not created in isolation in a board room.  We work with you to identify all of the key stakeholders that we need to engage to inform the strategic planning process.  This will vary depending on your organization, but typically involves some of the following key stakeholders: Staff at different levels of the organization Board of Directors Volunteers Current and past funders and donors Key community partners/ stakeholders in

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Five Steps for Nonprofits to Decide to Merge or Not to Merge

In March, we released a blog about why organizations in the nonprofit sector might want to consider a merger and discussed the different types of restructure options.  Once a nonprofit decides to move forward in considering a merger, how do you reach consensus on this decision and if a merger is the best fit? Deciding to merge can be emotional and sometimes political for everyone involved. Therefore, nonprofits often hire a third-party entity to facilitate the decision-making process from an impartial standpoint.   Transform Consulting Group has helped nonprofits navigate the process of a merger or acquisition.  Last year, we helped Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis (MHA Indy) decide on whether or not to merge or restructure their organization

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