Why We Unveiled New Assessment Tools for Our Grantees

November 8, 2016


Whether your organization enriches people’s lives through theater that bridges cultural divides or music instruction that sharpens children’s minds and boosts their confidence, you can probably think of ways you wish you did your work better.

At Dodge, we believe assessment is crucial to not only audit your work but to improve it. We also realize it can take a lot of time and money — time and money away from the important work you do — to develop and implement evaluation practices that are difficult to use or only tell part of the story of your impact.

That’s why we are excited to offer two new assessment tools to grantees — the DataArts platform for Arts organizations and the Arts Education Data Dashboard for Education organizations. These tools make it easier for organizations to document their work, surface patterns, be part of a bigger community working toward similar goals, and share stories and key information with supporters and funders.


macbook-pro-mockup_artscult_fnl-beta_banner-1The DataArts platform, the go-to tool for thousands of arts, cultural, and humanities organizations across the country, taps into the power of data to tell the stories of the impacts of the arts in our communities. And thanks to a partnership with Art Pride New Jersey, it’s not just available to Dodge arts organizations, but all arts and culture organizations here in the Garden State.

DataArts enables you to turn financial, program, and operational information into reports that will help you increase management capacity, better understand program participation and attendance trends, and streamline the fundraising and grant application process.

New Jersey’s participation in DataArts also connects the state to a number of national efforts, including one of the largest analyses of the impacts of arts and culture in the country. That’s a big bonus.

In Education, we could not find a tool that fully captures the benefits education nonprofits offer to New Jersey schools — so we created one from scratch. With the help of several of our grantees over a year-long process, we learned about the metrics that matter most and built the Arts Education Data Dashboard.

Together with the New Jersey Arts Education Census, the Data Dashboard will offer a more complete picture of the creativity happening in our schools — where it thrives, where there are opportunities for connection, and where we can work to bridge the gaps.

The Arts Education Data Dashboard will enable education organizations to track their individual program offerings in one database and better understand the schools, students, and teachers served. As the Dashboard is populated, you will be able to map outside arts organizations working in particular schools, the programs they offer, the number of students and teachers served, the teachers and administrators involved in arts and arts integration work, and the funding sources supporting this work.  You will be able to see who else is working in a school and even learn where teaching artists are work.

And we are working to share this tool with other Education funders, so the Dashboard can eventually become a streamlined way for organizations to report to many funders.

We did not make the decision to launch these tools lightly. We carefully consider how these requirements will impact each nonprofit, whether they are a one-person shop or one with offices around the country.

We invite you to learn more about these tools by clicking the links below and check back here for updates as the data rolls in and we begin to understand its collective power.

If you are an arts or arts education nonprofit organization — Dodge grantee or not — and have a question about participating in either data collection tool or a funder of arts or arts education work interested in using the Dashboard, please contact Richard Simon, senior arts and education program associate, at rsimon@grdodge.org.

If you have any questions about DataArts, please connect with them here.

We want to hear how it’s going. Please share any feedback to help us improve these tools as well as any success stories.