How the Columbus startup is pairing good data with good deeds
We all recognize the importance of our favorite charities and nonprofits. But unlike most companies, those designed with philanthropy in mind have a more challenging time measuring their effectiveness and productivity. So how can an organization with intangible goals show tangible progress? That’s where SureImpact comes in. The Columbus startup was founded as a way for these organizations to prove their worth and track their accomplishments.
“SureImpact is designed for the government and nonprofit sector that are providing direct services to consumers — education, housing, behavioral health care, workforce development and more,” said founder Sheri Chaney Jones. “The mission of these organizations is to change someone’s life, whether it’s increasing income, improving health outcomes or reducing poverty. SureImpact helps track that impact. The platform acts as a case management system and thinks like a program evaluator. It aggregates data in real time so that leadership, funders and executive teams know whether a program is working and how it can be more effective. It’s changing the way we think about service programs and whether they are producing the desired results.”
While every entrepreneur is passionate about their business, Jones said she’s particularly driven to make SureImpact a success for those it can help. The company’s mission to empower organizations that are doing good in their communities gives Jones and her team extra motivation to find success.
“We want to transform how we think about philanthropy and social service programs and change the conversation to create real and lasting impact,” she said. “Historically, in the social sector, we have not had a great way to know if our programs are really working. For a for-profit business, if you’re not delivering value to your customers, you go out of business. If you’re no longer relevant, you go out of business. But in the social sector, value and money aren’t tied. The people who are recipients of the services don’t traditionally pay for them. So there isn’t accountability for whether we’re meeting the needs of the people that we’re trying to serve and solving the problems that we say we want to solve. With data, we can improve that. That’s our lasting impact, transforming how we measure success and make decisions.”
But SureImpact’s goal isn’t just to improve processes for certain portions of the population. In a year when many founders have focused on the importance of equity and inequality Jones said one of the goals of the startup is to narrow the demographic gaps that often exist in philanthropic situations. If organizations have more access to data, they can better address those gaps, which is an important cause to Jones and her team.
“SureImpact allows organizations to quickly analyze based on gender or race, so it also helps address some of the social inequities we see in the community,” she said. “Because you can analyze the data by disparate outcomes based on one’s gender or based on one’s race, we can work to improve that. Everyone in the process, from case managers all the way to funding organizations like the United Way, benefits from the platform and can see the outcomes they’re producing. SureImpact also de-identifies the data so that everyone’s privacy is protected. It gives everyone involved a sense of knowing how their programs are moving the needle for all.”
The company started in 2018 and participated in Rev1 Ventures’ Customer Learning Lab. In the years since, their reach has grown steadily, culminating in a 2020 that has the startup reaching new heights. SureImpact’s influence now stretches across the country, allowing the organization to help more people and increase its own impact on the central Ohio market that allowed it to grow and thrive.
“We have organizations here in central Ohio and in California using the platform and in early 2021, it’s going to go out to 50 United Ways in 50 different markets,” said Jones. “We’re really excited for that growth. We also just closed a fundraising round that will help us take SureImpact nationwide. As an entrepreneur, it’s a really exciting time to be at this phase of our startup journey where we’re finding the traction we’ve been working toward. It’s a real, working platform. We’re definitely at an exciting inflection point for the business. Now, it’s time to focus on growing and building our team, adding jobs in the central Ohio area. Creating jobs and contributing to the thriving central Ohio economy is very important to me.”