Why PropelNext?

We believe even the most promising organizations can sharpen their skills and become more effective, boosting their impact on young people’s lives.

Our grantees and other nonprofits bring great dedication and creativity to their work with disadvantaged young people who need to get back on track in school, prepare for the workforce, or transition from foster care into adulthood. These organizations have big jobs to do and limited time in which to achieve maximum impact with youth.  Ideally, they would have great tools and knowledge at their disposal to help them target their efforts in the most relevant and powerful ways. Yet the reality facing most youth-serving organizations is one of constraints because they lack the resources to operate strong programs grounded in evidence and to use data for ongoing improvement.

Seventy-one percent of nonprofits say funders provide little or no funding for program assessment or evaluation, Center for Effective Philanthropy, 2012

To tackle this challenge, PropelNext is exploring new, efficient and effective ways funders can support nonprofits along their journey to improved performance and enhanced results. Our integrated program helps promising youth organizations gain the mastery to use and apply data for ongoing improvement and learning as they pursue their missions.  

Our approach is still in the pilot stage, but early results are encouraging. For example, so far our grantees are:

  • Crafting theories of change that help them define the pathways to their long-term goals, and using them to inform decisions regarding their programs.
  • Building results-driven cultures in their organizations, with staff at all levels embracing ongoing learning and improvement.
  • Using state-of-the-art performance management systems to track and analyze their impact.

As a result, our grantees are able to undertake ongoing cycles of learning and improvement.  As they implement programs, they ably use data to understand what’s working and what can be improved, and then refine and re-implement based on this new learning. We have seen this work be transformational for grantees, increasing their impact, expanding their reach, and improving their efficiency.

View our Theory of Change for a detailed description of our approach.