The SOC 187S: Entrepreneurial Approaches to Sustainable CBOs course had the privilege of being joined by a Humanics Alum, Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro. Dr. Young-Alfaro is currently the Principal Researcher of Anchoring Success, a firm committed to “equipping organizations with people-centered data analysis and assessment strategies to empower data-driven decision making and advance program impact.” Dr. Young-Alfaro shared the importance of storytelling, reporting, and branding. The three main points that stood out to me where: 1) Data is gold, 2) Storytelling should be educational, should be pass-on/share on, and should entertain, and 3) If your reporting struggles, so does your brand.

Data is gold.

Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro mentioned that an organization can use data as a temperature test to see if their program is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Data can also be shared to the internal workings (i.e., funders) of an organization. Lastly, CBOs need data (good data) to be able to report, tell stories, and improve their branding; as each of these sections prioritizes different types of data.

I love data. As a sociologist it intrigues me, because if collected and analyzed correctly, it tells a story and can lead to the creation of solutions. As our conversation with Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro was fascinating and educational, we weren’t able to spend much time on data; but Dr. Young-Alfaro shared an article that Anchoring Success wrote, 1 Simple Data Point to Gain Major Benefits in Program Assessment. The article includes to tips: 1) Collect Household Size and 2) Collect ratio of Attempted-Contact to Successful-Contact. The article includes a video of Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro explaining the tips.

Storytelling should be educational, should be pass-on/share on, and should entertain.

Many CBOs use a business-based approach to tell stories, but Dr. Young-Alfaro uses an anthropology-based approach to tell stories. This anthropology-based approach states that storytelling should educate the audience about what and how to believe in something.  Also, the way the story is being told is important and the story should ensure the passing-on belief. This approach reminded me of the “Story of Me, Us, and Now” approach we used in the SOC 144 class where we wrote on a social issue that affects us, our society, and then had a call to action. Dr. Morghan Véle Young-Alfaro has developed curriculum on Storytelling Origins, Opportunities, and Assessment.

If your reporting struggles, so does your brand.

Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro stated that branding and reporting work together. Reporting consists of quantitative data which could notice trends and estimates of a specific program. Reporting is the way a CBO can evaluate their programs. It also  includes program designs and decisions which influences branding; as branding can be program specific and organization-based. Branding needs to reach all of the CBO’s audiences: Elite funders, peer funders, program participants, and professionals. If you don’t have proper reporting this can affect the CBOs branding.

I am glad Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro was able to share her knowledge with us. Storytelling is not only important for CBOs, but it’s a skill that we should all acquire. I remember last semester, my Humanics Student-Consulting team observed a board meeting that Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro was attending. I was so amazed by how she delivered the story of Fresno State Humanics Program that other board members told us to memorize her speech!  I hope to acquire the skills to be able to story tell.

Thank you, Dr. Morghan Vélez Young-Alfaro for joining us in class!