Year of Publication

2014

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

In 2012 and 2013, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) Department of Social Service requested a “Social Service Needs Assessment Project” in Fayette County, Kentucky. In Aug, 31, 2012, Social Service Department established the “Needs Assessment Budget”. During Mar-Oct, 2013, two teams from The University of Kentucky College of Social Work (COSW) and the Martin School of Public Policy and Public Administration worked together to accomplish this project.

One of the tasks of this project is to assess the quality of data reported by the social service partner agencies of Lexington. “Partner organization” is the name government officials give to nonprofits that receive funding assistance from the Urban County Council. This particular review concerned the partner agencies that received LFUCG funding in FY 2013. The author was asked to make recommendations regarding data consistency and accountability to help LFUCG officials decide on whether they should impose additional data reporting requirements on agencies seeking public funding allocations in future years.

This project was part of a larger effort by LFUCG officials to improve their ability to allocate public resources to local nonprofit social service organizations in a more rigorous manner, rather than simply continuing appropriations that had been made in the past. There were two goals with this project. First, was to identify the best practices of data reporting for nonprofit organizations according to various relevant literatures. Second, was to analyze data made available by the twenty-one Lexington partner organizations in FY 2013. The research questions are: do the partner organizations follow best-practices in making data available to the public, and what is the quality of the data they do make available.

In general, the partner agencies did well in reporting financial information and basic information about the organization. This is likely due to the fact that IRS requires such information to be reported annually on Form 990 in order for organizations to maintain their tax exempt status. However, these organizations are generally weak in reporting data on their effectiveness, impacts, and in providing helpful information on their websites.

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