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Continuous Learning & Improvement refers to the process of using data to understand what works and apply insights and practices that yield meaningful and measurable improvements in people’s lives.

Continuous Learning & Improvement

We help organizations, networks, and their funders determine, collect, and use data (or measures of success) to engage in processes of continuous learning and improvement. Our services run the gamut from developing performance measurement tools, processes, and systems to performing evaluation assessments, making recommendations for improvement, and providing customized coaching and technical assistance to strengthen nonprofit operations, program quality — and ultimately, outcomes.


Would you like to develop performance measurement tools, processes, and systems to measure progress towards your organization’s intended outcomes? 

Do you need coaching and technical assistance to strengthen your program’s operations, increase capacity, and improve services to the communities you serve?

Are you seeking to understand your program/organization’s key metrics and impact to date — and how you can continue to improve them?

Continuous Learning & Improvement for Foundations

Root Cause offers extensive expertise in developing performance measurement systems and practices for strategic learning and assessment of social impact. We ground our work around a theory of change with a clear hypothesis and help partners measure and track key indicators of organizational and programmatic effectiveness. Partners gain capacity to make strategic and programmatic decisions based on data and evidence, not assumption or anecdote, so their impact is felt by more people and families.

Continuous Learning & Improvement for Nonprofit Organizations

Root Cause examines how programs and organizations are currently performing and how they can increase sustainability and impact. Our team explores the dimensions most critical to success, including service quality and measurement capacity. Using assessments, research, and other tools, we analyze performance in the context of best practices in the field and help leaders apply strategic learning to program and organization design.

How we do it:

Grounding data collection and analysis in equitable practices

 We use a variety of methodologies to help organizations collect feedback and inputs from stakeholders with different power differentials. We strive to make data collection transparent, practical, and accessible to all. We also encourage partners to disaggregate data by race, ethnicity, and income to better understand the root causes driving disparities and identify solutions to reduce them.

Collecting and tracking a limited set of indicators

We know that any performance measurement process, tool, or dashboard needs to be easy to use. By selecting, collecting, and tracking a limited set of indicators, we help partners focus on what is most important and enable them to regularly collect, review, and discuss data and make the necessary improvements.

Focus and test a theory of change
We work with partners to articulate a rigorous hypothesis for how their work will measurably improve the lives of more people. Our work creates clarity of purpose and alignment of activities that are grounded in evidence and designed to make a difference.
Engage people and families in shaping services to support their success
Performance measures and measurement tools must reflect what really matters for people to succeed. Our approach grounds the ongoing development of programs and services in the metrics that matter to mothers and fathers, children and families, students and teachers, employees and citizens. We help partners engage people in the community to understand their experiences and ensure programs address their needs.
Assess capacity for performance measurement
We designed a performance measurement audit and coaching process to assess and strengthen your organizational culture and capacity to identify, collect, track, and analyze data and use it to drive decision-making.
Design and build performance measurement tools and processes
We help partners design and build the tools and systems they need to measure impact and progress. We empower leaders to track organizational and program performance, generate key insights, and use knowledge to make strategic and programmatic decisions based on evidence throughout the performance measurement cycle.
Build a culture of and process for continuous quality improvement
Quality operations deliver quality programs, and quality programs deliver strong outcomes for people and families. We help partners identify key quality indicators, design processes for collecting those data points, and practice the art and science of using information to continuously improve their operations and programs.
Research, assess, and apply evidence-based practices
We help leaders and program directors understand and apply the best available evidence of effectiveness to inform service delivery. We work with your team and partners to review the existing body of knowledge in your field and share evidence about what works, how it works, why it works, and under what contexts.
Develop performance management skills
Leadership development is a critical step in cultivating a culture of learning and improvement and creating the norms and systems that support it. Our team delivers coaching to leaders and groups of organizations in order to strengthen their capacity and gain new competencies that result in stronger programs and impact.
Learn how people experience barriers to success based on race, class, gender, and geography and design programs to support success for people
A growing body of quantitative evidence shows how historical and current systemic barriers negatively affect the ability of individuals, families, and communities to succeed. We help clients understand the challenges and conditions that hinder success and work to reduce or eliminate their negative impact.

Learn about how continuous learning & improvement can build capacity and strengthen quality at our Program Quality Resource Library.

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