Launch: Online Resource for Better Data and Best Practices

February 29, 2012

Mary A. Terzian,  Ph.D., M.S.W. of Child Trends introduces PerformWell in light of the online resource's launch, which you can join via webinar on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 3:00pm EST.

What is PerformWell?

PerformWell is a one-stop, comprehensive online resource that helps nonprofit practitioners identify performance outcome measures and effective practices in managing service delivery. It offers expert-crafted information to manage the performance of a social program effectively. This includes research-based information about program outcomes, performance indicators and measurement tools to gauge performance, as well as other tools for managing and communicating performance.

How will PerformWell help organizations provide more effective services?

PerformWell will help organizations provide more effective services by helping them to (a) understand the importance of performance management and what to expect when developing a performance management process; (b) identify the key outcomes they should track; (c) locate tools to help them measure these outcomes; and (d) monitor and manage implementation to improve service delivery and effectiveness.

To elaborate, PerformWell will help organizations provide more effective services in four ways:

  • First, organizations can learn about the many aspects of performance management – including the importance of performance management (and how it is distinct from evaluation) and the benefits of a strong performance management system.


  • Second, organizations can gain a better understanding of which outcomes to monitor and track. In many cases, direct service organizations and their staff do not know where to begin when measuring program outcomes. PerformWell will help them to get started, by providing information about which outcomes are most appropriate for differing programmatic models, which outcomes are realistic to measure, and how those outcomes can be measured.


  • Third, organizations will have access to a large resource of easy-to-use data collection tools, most of which are free and publicly available. PerformWell is distinct from other online resources that offer information about data collection tools, because it offers direct links to printable copies of the tools and provides suggestions on how the tools should be administered and scored.


  • Fourth, organizations can use PerformWell to obtain guidance on what aspects of implementation to measure to ensure that programs are being delivered effectively and with high quality. Whenever possible, PerformWell includes suggestions on how to make changes if a program identifies areas that are not functioning as intended.

Collectively, PerformWell will serve as a valuable resource to improve every step of performance management – from initial design and data collection to interpretation of results and improvement of service delivery.

Who developed PerformWell?

PerformWell is the result of a collaborative effort between the nonprofit research centers, Urban Institute and Child Trends, and Social Solutions, a provider of performance management software for human services organizations.

Who do we anticipate will use PerformWell?

We hope to encourage direct service providers that do not currently measure and manage performance, as well as direct service providers that could benefit from improving and streamlining their performance management process, to use PerformWell.

Initially, direct service staff and their immediate supervisors (mid-level managers) will see the greatest benefit from PerformWell. These staff will be able to utilize the tools and resources on the website quickly to improve the quality and content of their services. However, over time, we expect that senior managers and executive directors will also be able to utilize PerformWell. The information presented on PerformWell can help to inform these organizational leaders about how to improve their service mix and approaches and assess whether large-scale changes are needed. We also expect funders to use PerformWell, by recommending it as a resource for their grantees.

Ultimately, we believe that anyone with direct service responsibility within an organization will benefit from using PerformWell. We expect these benefits to translate into better services and programs and believe that better services and programs will result in better outcomes for the client populations served.

Who should attend the webinar?

This initial webinar is an introduction to PerformWell, and it is designed for three audiences: direct service providers, prospective funders, and also researchers who may wish to submit new data collection tools for the website or be interested in helping to develop new program areas for PerformWell. In the future, we will likely tailor additional webinars more for specific audiences, but this introductory event is designed for anyone who wishes to learn more about PerformWell. To register for the webinar, click the link below.



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