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Launching the M&E Health Check tool – how LGT VP collaborated with IDinsight to support organizations in tapping into the potential of data

Miriam Ruetti 23 February 2023

This blog was first published on LGT Venture Philanthropy’s website and is posted here with their permission.

The ever-increasing need for data capacity among social organizations has led IDinsight and LGT Venture Philanthropy to embark on a joint journey with the mission to support organizations in tapping into the potential of data.

In this article you will learn how capacity building is a strategic pillar of LGT Venture Philanthropy (LGT VP) and about the iteration process LGT VP underwent before launching the M&E Health Check tool.

Adding value beyond financial support: The LGT Impact Fellowship program

Creating lasting partnerships with grantee organizations is foundational to LGT Venture Philanthropy’s strategy. At the core of strong relationships lies the idea that LGT VP truly adds value to its portfolio organizations, which goes beyond purely financial support. LGT VP particularly creates value through the business expertise that we bring in throughout the life-cycle of our partnership with organizations – from the rigorous due diligence approach which is typically adopted in the private equity space, to the business lens that we take when providing strategic guidance to our organizations. Moreover, we support organizations in giving them access to our networks or platforms, including the LGT Impact Fellowship program

Since the early days of LGT VP, the LGT Impact Fellowship program has been a central pillar of LGT VP’s strategic investment support. In a nutshell, the LGT Impact Fellowship is a capacity-building initiative that matches high-caliber mid-level business professionals with the desire to use their professional skills in a meaningful way, with portfolio organizations of LGT Venture Philanthropy in need for business expertise. During a 12-month full-time engagement LGT Impact Fellows strengthen organizational capacities by transferring their know-how.

Defining additional value-add areas by listening carefully to our portfolio organizations

In the spirit of strengthening capacity, LGT Venture Philanthropy is continuously looking for ways to add value to its portfolio.

With the experience gained from running the LGT Impact Fellowship, combined with our Investment Managers’ in-depth knowledge about our portfolio organizations, we gained important insights about the most pressing pain points many of our grantee organizations face. Among others, important skill gaps prevail in the domain of data analytics. In this context LGT VP partnered with IDinsight, a global data analytics consultant, to develop an offering that supports organizations on their data journey.

The iteration process towards a data capacity building initiative

Our first idea was to support organizations in building data capacity internally. Together with IDinsight we have therefore piloted a Data Analytics Fellowship program, which would allow a selected group of Data Analytics and M&E Specialists from portfolio organizations of LGT Venture Philanthropy to build out their data analytics capabilities. The pilot program consisted of a 10-week self-paced online learning bootcamp facilitated by IDinsight to strengthen technical skills, followed by a 8-week hands-on learning project consulted by IDinisght. The most important learnings that we could draw from the pilot program were:

  • Overall there was great demand from organizations to build additional data analytics capacity.
  • The participating organizations were able to improve their data analytics skills through the pilot program; particularly the hands-on project generated great value for the organizations.
  • However, the pilot made evident that organizations stand at very different levels of their data journey – the data capabilities and well as data needs of organizations vary greatly.

The pilot program helped us to increase our efficiency for larger datasets, particularly when we started using the new software STATA.

– Himani Sharma, Program Manager, Foundation for Ecological Security

Based on these learnings it became clear, that a standardized data capacity building initiative, such as the piloted Data Analytics Fellowship program, will not be suitable for the entire portfolio and that a more customized approach is needed to best support our organizations.

The pilot program helped with key and pressing capabilities at m2m and taught us how to approach it. We gathered some helpful insights from the bootcamp; while not all our data problems are solved, we strengthened our foundation, which we can build upon, especially in terms of streamlining data processes and how to translate data into insights. We also appreciated the best practice sharing with other organizations and see how others do it.

– Lazola Makhupula, Senior Strategic Information Lead, mothers2mothers

Launching the M&E Health Check tool to assess organization’s data capabilities

Prior to determining what kind of support is suitable for an organization, it is critical to obtain a solid understanding where an organization stands in terms of data analytics capabilities. After thorough research of IDinsight, it became evident that there is generally a great need for organizations to better understand where they stand, but no assessment tools are available in the market.

The M&E Health Check tool fills exactly that gap. It is a publicly available diagnostic survey that produces recommendations for social and environmental organizations. This tool is designed to enable organizations to test their data readiness, and provides tailored recommendations on where they need to invest in building data capacity. The tool consists of a survey that captures an organization’s or a program’s existing monitoring and evaluation, data analytics and data management systems capacity. The respondent will receive an automated final report identifying priority areas for improvement. The report will rate the health of the organization’s M&E, assess the capacity of the organization’s mission alignment and strategy, M&E Human Resources, and existing M&E systems, and then provide targeted recommendations.

The most valuable aspect of the output report was the detailing within the modules that carefully highlighted areas of improvement. This is a wonderful tool and might be helpful to make it readily available for organizations to use internally. – Lazola Makhupula, Senior Strategic Information Lead, mothers2mothers

We believe that the M&E Health Check Tool has the potential to be a valuable resource for organizations looking to fully leverage the potential of their data to drive organizational success. By helping organizations understand their strengths and areas for improvement, the tool can support them in building a strong foundation for data-driven decision-making and impact measurement.

Check out the M&E Health Check tool here.

Read the announcement to the M&E Health Check launch here.