Making Use of Outcome Information for Improving Services

Brief

Making Use of Outcome Information for Improving Services

Recommendations for Nonprofit Organizations

Abstract

This report describes, and provides examples of, how nonprofit health and human services organizations use outcome information internally. It is based on an examination of the practices of eight health and human services nonprofits in the Washington DC-Baltimore MD metropolitan area. It also discusses factors that appear to contribute to, or hinder, use of outcome information by nonprofit organizations. The organizations examined most commonly used primarily qualitative outcome information to adjust services for individual clients. We also found many cases of use of quantitative outcome data to identify successes, problems and patterns in outcomes across clients, to identify the potential need for program modifications. This represents a "newer" approach to the use of outcome information by NPOs. However, a number of organizations that collected outcome data did not actually tabulate it, leaving it to supervisors and caseworkers to mentally "process" the data to identify patterns and trends.

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