Tuesday, September 1, 2009

OHATS off to you!

Since September 2000, the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) has been using its Organizational History and Accomplishments Tracking System (OHATS) to document actions that lead to success in the organization's mission. OHATS is an Internet-based system used to record and report important events, actions and lessons that improve conditions necessary for all youth to succeed. More than one thousand accomplishments, lessons, and activities were reported by T/MC staff between September 2000 and January 2008.

OHATS is not just for T/MC, though. Our goal is to make it easier for any stakeholder—program, volunteer, donor or business partner—to see, understand, and compare what they do with what seems to be working elsewhere, in a way that leads to constant innovation and improvement in all programs that strive to help inner city youth stay in school, stay safe in non-school hours, and stay headed toward jobs and careers. The idea behind OHATS is simple and proven throughout history: if a community group tracks actions, events, lessons and results that are important to their success, they can learn from them and be more successful.

OHATS is an ongoing project. New supporters and users are welcome. We have set up an online discussion group where interested volunteers and OHATS users can discuss findings and talk about ways to improve the system, and the Tutor/Mentor Connection. We need to constantly "create sense" from what has been documented so that T/MC can improve its own efforts and others might learn how to best use OHATS in their own organization or community.

If you have any questions, please let me know. I appreciate your interest!

1 comment:

  1. Bradley, thanks for writing about OHATS. I encourage people interested in this concept to visit http://mentoringforums.nwrel.org/node/93 and download the article titled "Breakthroughs in Shared Measurement and Social Impact", by Mark Kramer, Marcie Parkhurst, and Lalitha Vaidyanathan, FSG Social Impact Advisors, 2009

    This shows how documentation systems are beginning to be used, and how millions of dollars are being invested in them. We had one grant of $15,000 in 2000 to build our OHATS and no donors have stepped forward to help us with it in the years since then. A volunteer based in Baltimore donated about $35,000 of his time, and that of his company in India, to build the current version in 2007 and 2008.

    We don't have money to keep managing that, so the developer who was working on the project is no longer employed.

    Thus, if there are people who value what we're trying to do, help us with your time, talent and dollars.