Research & Evaluation for the
Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise

Now, more than ever, funders want to see a nonprofit with programs that deliver clear, measurable results. But it can be hard for a nonprofit to decide which outcomes in a program are most relevant and how to improve the capacity to collect, analyze and present outcome data to key stakeholders.

The Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise has one objective. “Our business is to help entrepreneurs start, sustain and grow their business,” says Terri Rivera, director of Educational Programs at The Business Center. With this aim in mind, The Business Center approached Targeted Solutions in fall 2008 to enhance its Urban Youth Entrepreneurship Project. The youth entrepreneurship program, which reaches children ages 7–18, operates as both an after-school activity and a summer camp. “We teach our youth about the risks and rewards of going into business, the characteristics of an entrepreneur and how to write a business plan,” says Rivera.

As part of its William Penn Technical Assistance Matching Fund grant, The Business Center is working with PHMC's Research and Evaluation staff, through Targeted Solutions, to develop a logic model and improve assessment and evaluation of outcomes. A logic model graphically represents what the program does for its participants. “Targeted Solutions is helping us to tweak what our outcomes should be,” says Rivera. “It also helps us to determine short-term and long-term goals for our program.” Targeted Solutions is helping The Business Center improve its capacity to make program decisions, based on project data.  “The goal is that when we record our outcomes to give to our funders, they have a tighter grasp of our program,” says Rivera.

“Targeted Solutions is helping improve its capacity to make program decisions.”

Outcomes measurement is a new concept for many nonprofit organizations. Often, they collect data about their services and clients but are not always able to use the data to show the direct effect their programs have on their clients’ lives. Nonprofits also struggle with having enough administrative resources or funding to keep staff informed on new outcome measurement techniques and reporting structures. Smaller organizations may not have the technical assistance to begin outcomes measurement. For the last 15 years, PHMC has provided training in the principles of outcome measurement to various nonprofit providers, government agencies and funding organizations through a wide array of training options.

For more information, visit Targeted Solutions.