[Hidden-tech] Boston event: Migrating to Electronic Case Records at Your Nonprofit (Jan. 31st)

Deborah Elizabeth Finn deborah.finn at techboston.com
Tue Dec 27 12:06:28 EST 2016

Dear Hidden Tech Colleagues,

Tech Networks of Boston(TNB) and TNB Labs (TNBL) are pleased to invite you to a Roundtable session on how best practices for nonprofits that want to migrate to electronic case records. Our featured guests will be Laura Beals and Aaron Gunning of Jewish Family & Children’s Service Boston.

Here is what Laura and Aaron say about this session:

"Do you work at a human service agency that is drowning in paper records? Are you frustrated with duplicative and inefficient data collection processes for evaluation when you know the information you need is sitting in client records…but you just can’t get to it easily? Are you struggling to write reports with data when most of the data is missing or inaccurate? If so, please join us at a TNB Roundtable to explore how we at JF&CS use electronic case records — the social work equivalent to electronic medical records.

"The foundation of good program evaluation is high-quality data — data that is accurate, complete, uniform, and timely. Historically, client-level data at human service organizations has been collected on paper and selected pieces are entered at a later date into spreadsheets or database, often resulting in errors and inability to use the data to inform “real-time” decisions. More recently, however, use of cloud-based data collection systems — such as client management systems, constituent relationship systems, and online surveys — have become important tools for those doing program evaluation. In particular, in human service organizations, there is an opportunity to harness the data that is already being collected in case records. These records often include important evaluation data, in particular around service delivery (“dosage”) and demographics of clients. However, if this data is sitting in a manila folder on a social worker’s desk, it is very difficult for evaluators to access and aggregate, for either process or outcome evaluation purposes.

"By replacing paper case records with fully electronic ones, evaluators can leverage the data collection that service providers already do to produce large, rich, and high quality data sets for program evaluation. Integrating service delivery with data collection in this way represents one avenue through which evaluators can meet the growing need for bigger and better data, while at the same time offering unexpected opportunities to address risk management. Jewish Family Children’s Service (JF&CS) has begun to move the client records kept by its service providers from paper to a web-based database. This Roundtable will feature a case study of one electronic case record transition process recently completed at JF&CS. The presentation will highlight lessons learned about system design and stakeholder engagement, as well as results of the transition process in terms of data quality, data availability, and evaluation questions the agency can now answer thanks to data gleaned from new electronic case records. Questions and discussion will be encouraged!"

Here’s a little more about Laura:

Laura Beals, Ph.D. is a nonprofit evaluator with expertise in the use of technology to support evaluation and in evaluation methods and management in nonprofit settings. She is currently the director of the department of evaluation and learning at Jewish Family & Children’s Service Boston, a large social service agency located in Waltham, MA. At JF&CS she oversees the team responsible for conducting internal evaluation across the agency and implementing the Efforts-to-Outcomes client database. Prior to joining JF&CS, Laura worked as the manager for research, evaluation, and technology at Connected Beginnings Training Institute, a professional development training institute for early care and education providers. While at Connected Beginnings she oversaw the development of custom Drupal and Salesforce instances to support training registration and evaluation. She is currently the co-chair of the American Evaluation Association’s Nonprofit and Foundations Topical Interest Group. Laura completed her Ph.D. and M.A. at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at TuftsUniversity.

Here’s a little more about Aaron:

Aaron Gunning is a program evaluation professional with expertise in database implementation, data collection, and data analysis. Aaron is also a former direct service provider with experience providing high quality youth programming in diverse settings. Aaron came to Jewish Family & Children’s Service in 2015, where he is currently the senior administrator for the agency’s Efforts-to-Outcomes client database. In this role, Aaron has led or contributed to the creation of new database sites for programs serving the elderly, families with young children, and people with disabilities. Aaron currently engages program leaders in mapping their workflows in conjunction with client data needs, designs sites and data analytics to meet those needs, and provides trainings that empower program staff to have a positive and reciprocal relationship with their clients’ data. Aaron has a master’s degree in education policy and leadership from Boston University, and a master’s degree in human development from Tufts University. Before coming to JF&CS, Aaron worked on evaluation and research projects related to high school graduation, mentoring, and leadership development with The Center for Promise, The Research Institute for Learning and Development, and JOIN for Justice.

Please note:

1) In keeping with the spirit of the TNB Roundtable series, this session will NOT be a sales pitch for any product or service.  This will be a professional development opportunity for nonprofit professionals who want to learn with and from their peers in other organizations.

2) This session is for employees of nonprofit organizations. It is not designed to meet the needs of vendors, volunteers, students, consultants, job-seekers, and others.

3) Priority in registration will be given to those who are employed by nonprofit organizations that hold full membership in the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

4) Participation in this session is free of charge for nonprofit professionals. However, you must have a confirmed reservation in order to attend.

5) If this session is booked to capacity by the time you seek to register for it, please go ahead and put yourself on the waiting list. We have a good track record of finding seats for nonprofit professionals on the waiting list.

We hope that you can join us for a vigorous and informative conversation, in which you will be welcome to share your knowledge and experience with your peers!

To register to participate in this session, please follow this link:


Best regards from Deborah

Please note my new job title and contact information:

Deborah Elizabeth Finn
Chief Strategic Officer
P.O. Box 2073
Framingham, MA 01703

definn at tnblabs.org<mailto:definn at tnblabs.org>
Follow us on Twitter<https://twitter.com/TNBLabs> and Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/tnblabs/>!


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