I’m Danna Reuven, a senior analyst at Measuring Success. My job entails working with clients, their stakeholders, and (of course) their data.
I grew up in California and went to school in the Midwest. I’ve always supported nonprofits, and in my undergraduate studies, I wanted to learn how nonprofits might benefit from applying strategic business modeling. In fact, in my college application, I explained my desire to pursue a business degree with a focus on structured and strategic approaches to nonprofit business management.
While I loved learning about the technical pieces of the business world, I continued to be drawn to the human components. I think nonprofits and schools are very much alike; they follow their hearts. In these sectors, we aren’t always motivated by facts and figures — but we’ll follow you to the ends of the earth if you tell us a story, or pull at our heartstrings!
When I finished my degree, I spent two years teaching at a Title 1 public school with Teach for America, a program that places teachers in high-need communities. I worked at a school in St. Louis, Missouri during a pivotal time for the city and our country because of the simultaneous injustices and protests occurring in Ferguson.
During my two years in St. Louis, I was a full-time teacher and earned a Masters in Education. I also mentored students, spent time with their families, and became a part of the beautiful and inspiring St. Louis community. These experiences have followed me to Washington, D.C. as I continue to remain close to my families and mentor students in local D.C. public schools.
At the end of my service with Teach for America, I wanted to combine my on-the-ground experience in schools and my academic pursuits to put those “minimum inputs/maximum outputs” business ideas into practice in a place that served schools and nonprofits.
That is when I found Measuring Success.
What I do now is exactly what I had hoped to pursue when I wrote that college entrance essay nearly a decade ago.
Many of our clients aren’t data-driven, but instead prefer anecdotes and stories. It excites me when I get to show them how to put the metrics we uncover to actionable use. I enjoy showing them that small changes can make a big difference in the ways that they think and operate.
One of the things that I believe in strongly is learning about my clients and knowing what they do. We start every client exchange with the understanding that we are building human relationships.
We gather data and learn about our clients and their stakeholders, but I always want to be able to say that, “above all, I understand your mission.”
Many of our clients have similar problems. For independent schools, the challenges are enrollment, financial sustainability, and refining what they do. Sometimes the data we collect shows them that what they are hearing anecdotally isn’t really what is going on — the reality doesn’t meet their perception.
This is particularly true in religious schools. In many of these circumstances, parents who are not members of the school community have misaligned understandings of the value proposition of the schools.
This is why it is important for schools to have the data to show prospective parents that they offer those families value. Sometimes it is a matter of a school refining their messaging to the parents they seek to engage.
When we map what families value to what the schools are doing, they may find it necessary to make a course correction in their offerings.
What we do is show them the evidence. We show them, “here is what is important,” and “here is where you are missing the mark.” Finally, we can give them proof that “this is an area where you are spending energy and time and parents don’t really care.” I think of it as a quadrant of importance and strength.
Being able to show them the data excites me because I know they are going to be able to go back to their school communities and put what they’ve learned from the data toward filling seats and improving financials.
What we at Measuring Success add is a human component to the data metrics. We are the go-to company for helping independent schools and nonprofits with data and a consultancy to make sense of it.
We are human relationships, not just pieces of information.
Danna Reuven is a senior analyst at Measuring Success.