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The Root Cause Blog
09 Sep

The Potential of the Peer Performance Exchange

Written by: Emily Chiappinelli, Research and Assessments Co-op

Root Cause recently held an office-wide meeting to address and reflect upon the George Zimmerman case, during which our CEO, Andrew Wolk, asked us to think about how an organization could try to create systemic change around a pervasive social problem. The Peer Performance Exchange (PPE), launched by Root Cause’s Social Impact Research (SIR) team, is what came to my mind when contemplating how to create effective solutions because it serves a crucial role in facilitating broad social impact. 

The PPE combines different services that work to both improve individual nonprofit programs and also to help cohorts of nonprofits working in the same social issue progress collectively toward alleviating a targeted problem. It addresses an area of performance measurement that is under-served; for a relatively inexpensive cost, SIR delivers thorough and customized analyses of programs and provides a host of resources and opportunities to help the organizations implement the recommended changes. This process ensures that potential improvements are seen through to fruition, as opposed to ending an analysis without further guidance or assistance.

The PPE accomplishes collective progress by simplifying the sharing of best practices, expediting knowledge dissemination, and enabling networking within the field for the member organizations. The PPE’s reach expands beyond nonprofits by incorporating funders. It offers a way for funders to a) make informed decisions about which organizations to invest in based on the organization’s ability to demonstrate its impact using data and outcomes indicators, and b) evaluate program models and effectiveness against the best practices in the field by using the information provided by the PPE services.

Supporting informed decision-making based around data and research moves the entire field closer to comprehensively addressing social problems. The PPE is a critical new tool because of its ability to bring together various actors and stakeholders to do so.

Over time, a system-level view of specific fields will emerge as data is amassed on a large scale and compiled from nonprofit cohorts within and across different social issues. As more nonprofits are driven toward gathering and assessing outcome data, the view of the field will grow and become clearer. This movement then enables the identification and analysis of trends on significantly larger data sets, and those actions can be used toward transforming the way problems are viewed and confronted.

The ability to holistically understand and address social issues, paired with and due to the integration of abundant sources of meaningful data, creates an effective method for accomplishing systemic change.

To learn more about how you can become a member of the Peer Performance Exchange or for more information, please contact Anne Radday at aradday@rootcause.org