Stockton Service Corps
Stockton Service Corps (SSC) is a non-profit organization established in 2019 as a place-based initiative dedicated to working with community partners to deliver high-impact services to Stockton, California, and to creating a pathway for community leadership through service. SSC works strategically to create a lasting impact at a community level in an effort to implement a citywide cradle-to-career strategy. Parkes Philanthropy was brought in to help SSC define its specific role and the assets it brought to that effort and develop monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems so that SSC could measure its impact more systematically.
Stockton Service Corps was established in 2019 as a place-based initiative to work with national service programs in strengthening communities and addressing local community needs. Since 2019 more than 270 individuals of all ages and backgrounds united to meet the local needs, strengthen communities, and expand opportunity through national service in Stockton. SSC Service Fellows tutor students in math and reading, prepare students for college, support college students in navigating higher education, lead climate change efforts, connect system-impacted youth to services, and distribute edible foods to residents.
Parkes Philanthropy consultants identified that there were two main gaps in SSC’s existing M&E infrastructure:
Parkes Philanthropy sought to address these gaps by first helping SSC define its unique value-add as a convener organization. This allowed SSC to understand what its long-term impact strategy could look like. Parkes Philanthropy then created and refined existing M&E approaches to replace the inefficient and inconsistent data tools and collection methods that were time-consuming, error-prone, and provided limited stakeholder intelligence.
After working with the client to conduct the analysis of the organizational conditions and shape the strategic plan, the project team established the following in order to successfully achieve the client’s goals.
PHASE 1 Assessment and Strategy Development (Month 1)
The initial phase focused on understanding SSC’s current program structure, goals, and challenges. The Parkes Philanthropy team interviewed SSC staff and completed a landscape review of SSC’s existing organizational materials to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s operations and objectives.
- Analyzed SSC’s existing data collection methods and tools
- Conducted a thorough needs assessment to identify gaps in the existing impact strategy and M&E systems
- Assessed SSC’s current data infrastructure for measuring the impact of its work through program activities, interactions, and relationships across the relevant stakeholders
- Developed key definitions and a framework to describe SSC’s unique value proposition
- Conducted a Landscape Analysis to create a foundational strategic program plan assessing SSC’s multi-year goals, the key obstacles to SSC’s ability to build an impact measurement system, and the primary areas for improvement
PHASE 2 Design Monitoring & Evaluation Systems (Months 2-3)
In this phase, the focus shifted to customizing a high-level monitoring and evaluation framework and recommendations that aligned with SSC’s programs and goals. The Parkes Philanthropy team collaborated closely with SSC’s leadership to ensure the systems would be practical and sustainable.
- Developed a custom Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that synthesized how SSC can refine and build on existing data collection processes. This roadmap shaped a more cohesive ecosystem of data gathering and impact measurement
- Designed a comprehensive M&E framework, including data collection methods, tools, and reporting processes
- Developed data collection templates tailored to each program, ensuring consistency and relevance
Outcomes & Impact
The collaboration between Stockton Service Corps and Parkes Philanthropy led to significant improvements in SSC’s impact strategy and M&E systems. The organization now has a clear framework for understanding its unique value-add, a roadmap for how to better understand and measure impact, and a framework that the organization can continue to refine and adapt for its data collection, reporting, and analysis needs. SSC’s staff have embraced data-driven decision-making, leading to more informed program adjustments and resource allocation. The enhanced M&E systems have contributed to SSC’s goal to track outcomes more effectively, communicate their impact to stakeholders with evidence-based reports, and attract new funding opportunities.
The Parkes Philanthropy consulting project with SSC showcased the value of developing a robust impact strategy and M&E systems. By aligning programs with outcomes, providing tailored tools, and building staff capacity, the project has empowered SSC to maximize its impact on the community and secure a more sustainable future. The successful collaboration serves as a model for other nonprofits seeking to enhance their program effectiveness and accountability.