SureImpact Creates Tech Solutions to Accelerate Social Change
Serial entrepreneur Sheri Chaney Jones founded SureImpact, a technology company, specifically to help social sector organizations better track, manage, and report their unique social impact.
“SureImpact delivers a customizable, cloud-based software platform that gives social service organizations a way to measure what they have done, who they serve, and how well they serve them,” said Jones.
SureImpact’s target market includes organizations addressing social determinates of community wellbeing, such as education, job training, basic needs, mentoring, financial literacy, mediation, housing, workforce development, public safety, social supports, and behavioral and physical health, to name a few.
Non-profit isn’t a small market, either. There are more than 126,000 social sector entities in the U.S. alone. SureImpact has quantified a $3.8 billion addressable market—and that’s without ancillary markets, including state and local government entities that provide services.
Measurement is a Powerful Tool to Change Actions, Outcomes, and Lives
For more than 19 years, Sheri Chaney Jones has applied performance management, evaluation, and organization behavior best practices to non-profit organizations and government agencies to improve outcomes and efficiencies. An author, professor, and internationally recognized expert, she believes in data, metrics, and accountability.
Jones’ vision for SureImpact grew out of her direct experience with clients of her first (and very successful) company Measurement Resources Company (MRC). She founded MRC in 2008 with a methodology and implementation approach that equipped service organizations to use metrics to set better strategies, align teams, and develop compelling fundraising campaigns.
“Our customers loved the insights that we were providing,” Jones said. “They recognized that they could use data to be more efficient and effective, and to raise more money. They asked us for technology to streamline the data and automate and produce reports. It was a great question.”
Jones and the MRC team began researching alternatives. The products on the market required extensive customization and were expensive.
“These solutions just didn’t fit the bill,” Jones said. “It started to look like if we wanted to solve our customers’ problems, we were going to have to build something ourselves.”
Responding to Customer Needs with a Vetted Prototype
“I resisted the idea for a few years,” Jones said. “I didn’t want to be a software company, but I was repeatedly using my intellectual property to help someone else try and automate a platform.”
Now that she’s going through the journey of being a tech CEO, the transition hasn’t been as different as she expected.
“I realize I’ve been doing this my whole career—building what I need,” she said. “We went to some of our clients just with a PowerPoint deck and asked them if we built a platform that did this, would they be interested, and would they pay. Five of them paid up front for a first-year license. That gave us the resources and the customer validation to start to build the platform.”
Once the prototype was complete, more customers signed up for the beta test. As the early clients provided feedback SureImpact improved the platform, which can also act as a case management system.
“For more than a decade, at MRC, we have been responsible for analyzing data for these organizations,” said Jones. “Our intellectual property is based on analysis of 70 different types of organizations, and 58 different measurements that a SureImpact user can select from based on their own needs and mission—and if they need to, a user can actually add a measurement without calling a developer.”
Using Performance Measurement to Accelerate Social Change
With SureImpact, organizations can look at the differences between social services clients who are successful and those who are not.
“Every time you interact, you can put case notes and information about the person into the system so you can manage your services to that person and have the notes aggregate up to see what really moves the needle,” Jones said.
SureImpact is definitely helpful in writing grants and fundraising,” Jones said, “and it facilitates continuous improvement and increases efficiency. It’s about changing lives.”