Written by: Laura Brinson, Marianne Hark, Kelli Keck, and Deacon Dzierzawski
Let’s face it. There are probably other ways you would rather spend your time than data entry and management. Data, however, is vital to the work we do. It tells us whether we are focusing on the right issues, whether we are actually making an impact in the community we serve, and holds us accountable to stakeholders. It’s not just about collecting data. It’s collecting not only the right data, but quality data, and being able to use that data to tell your organization’s story. Whether you are already using REACH or are looking for a system to manage your data, let’s talk about what REACH can do for you.
REACH allows you to easily track all kinds of coalition and organizational work. This includes meetings and attendance, media and service reach, outcome data, and resources generated, including volunteer time, cash, and in-kind donations. With REACH, you can track efforts towards achieving community change, allowing your organization to celebrate successes and demonstrate impact. How does REACH do this? REACH allows you to see whether or not your organization’s activities are aligned to your intended outcomes. Matching outcomes to not only activities but also the indicators you use, allows you to demonstrate the success of your work. Additionally, as we all know, the work we do does not occur in a vacuum; there are many outside forces, both helpful and hurtful to our mission and vision, that affect our efforts. REACH not only allows you to track what goes on inside your organization, but also these external events that may impact your work. Most importantly, Epiphany Community Services provides a third-party review of your data entries, ensuring quality data.
REACH has other features that can be tailored to your organization to help you maximize and improve your efforts. Built for coalition and community work, REACH connects to your organization’s logic model(s) and the Seven Strategies for Behavior Change, but can also be customized to align with other known strategies. This allows you to see where your work is focused, aiding in decision-making and allowing you to better utilize limited resources. REACH easily generates graphs and filters data, helping you not only tell your story but also allowing you to quickly respond to requests from funders and other stakeholders. REACH offers features to save time and make data entry easy, including the ability to edit previous entries and copy entries for faster input of frequent activities. REACH is web-based, not only to protect your data but also to allow for multiple users and access from any device. Finally, REACH gives your organization ownership of its data, meaning data is not lost when funders change.
Data entry and management may not be anyone’s idea of a good time, but REACH can make it easier, ensure that you are collecting quality data to tell your unique story, and give you the information you need to better your community and the lives of those you serve.