COMET began in 2008 as a way for Children’s Institute to support their work in schools performing assessments, shifting away from paper completion and duplication of effort and moving toward electronic completion and utilizing a database to track what’s been completed and what was outstanding. As more organizations adopted the system for their own data collection purposes, an LLC for COMET was formed, solidifying the partnership between Children’s Institute, a nationally-recognized not-for-profit committed to supporting the social-emotional health of children, and SophiTEC, a custom software firm with expertise in database design.
We get it. Learning a new database comes with a few challenges and can be intimidating, even overwhelming. For starters, you have to rethink processes, the way things have always been done. Then you have to sit through multiple hours of training that will still leave you with some questions. We understand this and no one is expected is to leave an initial training being a wiz, but we do expect that you’ll have been provided with enough information to enable you to do the basics and continue to build your knowledge-base.
You know who you are. You may be a small but expanding organization, using the original way you developed to track data for your business. You may be a medium-size nonprofit that has been awarded a grant that now needs a way to regularly provide outcome reports. You may be a large organization that has access to tracking software at a national level, but it doesn’t track what you need, so you found a way to do it. Often, that way is Microsoft Excel. And it is making you tired.
What’s the most important step to any evaluation? Data collection? Choosing a system? Hiring the right evaluator? No, no, and no. The most important step is defining your question, and the more specific you can be, the better.
Our monthly newsletter, "COMET Kindred Spirits" provides resources, best practices and information on new features to those who share COMET's passion for using data to make a difference. Keep up to date with the latest and greatest in the world of data and COMET.