To kick off our new blog series focused on how organizations can use data to support their social impact efforts – and better understand the impact of those efforts – Laura Bowen, VIVA’s Communications Director, interviews Christine Tringale, VIVA’s Director of Data & Analytics.
Laura: Thank you for taking the time for this interview! Why don’t we start with your background?
Christine: Absolutely. I am excited to be having this conversation! I joined VIVA one year ago as part of our strategy to increase our focus on data and analytics as a way to support our partners in their impact efforts. I have spent my career building expertise in strategy and analytics, and I have always pursued ways to apply that skillset to create a positive impact. I earned my MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where I focused on social impact strategy. Go Bears! I have consulted with Deloitte and LEK Consulting, as well as held corporate strategy roles with Disney and Participant Media. I also consulted for the Gap Foundation, where I worked on a project to quantify the impact of the company’s volunteer program. It was this role that really cemented my love of using data to understand, measure, and evaluate impact work.
Laura: The term data can be a bit ambiguous. When you say “data,” what exactly are you referring to?
Christine: You are right – the term “data” definitely can mean different things to different audiences. Many people immediately think of massive databases or excel spreadsheets – huge sets of numbers that can seem daunting to access and actually use. These large collections of numbers and information are definitely some aspects of data that we work with. For example, helping clients better understand the performance of different funding recipients, how that performance has changed over time, and the SROI (social return on investment) of funding investments.
But data can also refer to smaller sets of information. For example, quantifying the number of times certain topics are mentioned by participants during an interview campaign to identify themes.
For me, working with “data” is all about empowering our partners to make more informed decisions.
Laura: Thank you. In the past 6 years that I have been at VIVA, it has been exciting to be a part of our work to serve evolving client needs. Can you speak to why VIVA is increasing our focus on data & analytics?
Christine: Sure. VIVA’s goal has always been to support our clients in making meaningful change. The 2019 VIVA name change – from VIVA Strategy + Communications to VIVA Social Impact Partners – reflects a developmental evolution in increasing VIVA’s ability to support partners in making decisions and understanding the impact of their efforts.
Part of that shift included expanding team expertise to include a more systematic and advanced focus on data, analytics, and investment strategy, which is the work I am leading. It has been amazing to see how the strategic combination of VIVA’s skill sets and the bold challenges of our talented partners have combined in new ways all aimed at increasing the impact of change efforts. I think VIVA’s differentiator is that we truly excel in storytelling, and in making data accessible and usable, whether for internal alignment and decision-making, or outward-facing messaging.
Laura: What are some new data & analytics areas that VIVA now offers to clients?
Christine: VIVA has always done an excellent job conducting surveys, interviews, and research scans. In addition to adding increased rigor in those areas, we now offer more technically advanced data and analytics services in the areas of:
- Investment strategy and financial modeling
- Data analysis and visualization (e.g. dashboards, GIS/asset mapping)
- Impact measurement and reporting
- Return on investment (ROI) analysis
Laura: This work is very exciting for all of us at VIVA as we think about our partners and their impact. Thank you for your time!
Christine: Of course. I agree that this is exciting work, and the impact that we are seeing is really incredible.
You can view examples of how we utilize data & analytics in the following projects:
- Data Analysis and Reporting – California QRIS IMPACT Hub Region 7 (Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties)