Measuring What Matters with Ethos Tracking

February 1, 2024 | | 0 Comments

Ethos Tracking

In today’s fast-paced world, social entrepreneurs are increasingly seeking effective ways to measure and amplify their impact. The story of Emily Kane Miller and her SaaS platform, Ethos Tracking, offers a compelling guide for those looking to integrate comprehensive tracking mechanisms into their operations.

Ethos Tracking isn’t your ordinary data management software. It’s a dynamic, adaptable platform designed for any in the social impact space. The platform offers a comprehensive suite for managing diverse datasets, from volunteer hours to in-kind donations, providing a panoramic view of philanthropic efforts.

Emily’s journey is a testament to her belief that intention without insight is like a ship without a rudder. With a background spanning government advocacy, corporate, and philanthropic realms, she was no stranger to the frustration of tracking social impact. The existing tools she found weren’t adaptable to various situation, requiring multiple tools for diverse activities, whether tracking volutneers, or managing donations.  Ethos Tracking was born from this need for a cohesive, versatile platform that could hold the story of impact in its entirety.

The SaaS software, designed to be a wide lens for social impact management, caters to various stakeholders, including nonprofits, businesses, family foundations, and even elected officials. It’s for anyone looking to consolidate their social impact data across multiple domains into a single, coherent narrative. Ethos Tracking is not just about collecting data; it’s about transforming that data into compelling stories that resonate with stakeholders and communities alike.

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[00:00:11] Adam: Welcome to People Helping People, the podcast for social entrepreneurs who want to build a social impact business. I'm your host, Adam Morris, and we have some great insight today with our guest, Emily Kane Miller. She took her broad background in government advocacy, along with her nonprofit, corporate, and philanthropic work to build Ethos Giving and the technology platform Ethos Tracking..

[00:00:31] Adam: Ethos Giving is a company which helps you develop and scale your social impact, whether you are a budding social entrepreneur or a seasoned nonprofit. And we're gonna dive into the impact measurement with their ethos tracking platform to explore what this looks like and what it means for you as you grow your impact.

[00:00:46] Adam: So let's dive in. Emily, welcome on the podcast.

[00:00:49] Emily: Thanks so much for having me, Adam.

[00:00:51] Adam: I'm excited to have you here. Can we dive in and just jump in about your story of how you started Ethos Giving.

[00:00:58] Emily: Absolutely. So thank you again for sharing my background. I've been in this work, for 20 years almost, which is crazy and uh, have always. Been asking the question, how can I use my professional opportunities to make the world a better place? And that's happened in Washington DC and in City Hall in Los Angeles and working in corporations.

[00:01:18] Emily: But the question was always, how can we do good? And we always run up against the challenge of, it's really fantastic to have great intentions, but unless you know there's value being created, what are we all doing here? Um, and so my work has always included, you know. Performance evaluation and depending on the work that was bigger or smaller.

[00:01:39] Emily: But I kept running into a frustration that once we did all of the work, tracked and managed it, asked all the questions, there wasn't a really great chamber to hold that information. That helped us, number one, make better decisions. Number two, support stronger institutional knowledge. And number three, communicate the value of the work to raise awareness and excitement among all of the stakeholders, so that really brought me to this moment where I felt like I needed to build it.

[00:02:04] Adam: How are you tracking the information at the time?

[00:02:08] Emily: So depending on the project, sometimes it was in, you know, good old fashioned Excel or, uh, you know, Google Docs. The thing that we do in our work with Ethos Giving and our clients is really look at a Philanthropy plus approach. So we're helping donors and doers that are certainly giving funds, which is, you know, amazing through a traditional C3 ecosystem, but they also have other work that they can do because of who they are and how they sit in the community. So we may be helping to deploy real estate assets or doing political giving or supporting impact investment. So simply having a single system where we can look at all of the donations that were made to see, threes doesn't tell the entire story.

[00:02:49] Emily: So by necessity, we needed to create. Ecosystems where we could look at multiple kinds of data sets all at once to say, here's the full story, here's what's working. Um, so good old fashioned Excel, uh, QuickBooks. And the truth is a lot of it was in people's brains, including mine, which is something that you can't balance when you're working and scaling.

[00:03:10] Emily: So we needed a better option.

[00:03:12] Adam: Fantastic. And what did it look like at the beginning when you first, started building Ethos Giving? What projects were you doing and how did you get started?

[00:03:20] Emily: Yeah, so Ethos Giving is the consulting firm. We work with families and businesses, primarily in California, who are, as I mentioned, all doing this philanthropy plus approach. When we created the tracker, we had a number of use cases. So there was a sports team that was thinking about how to engage players to do community-based impact, um, you know, programming onsite at schools, donations to local nonprofits, uh, sustainability efforts that were happening at the stadium level in kind ticket donations. So that's just one example of of a business that we were supporting that had all of these variable things that were happening.

[00:03:56] Emily: Um, and so we knew we needed to create a nimble program that could really flex because every client was doing something a little bit differently. It was never gonna be a one size fits all. Thing. And so when we created the tracker, we built out what we call levers. You know, we believe there's about 12 ways that organizations can flex for good when you boil it down.

[00:04:17] Emily: And we created, the ability to put data in that represented those specific. Kinds of workflows. So if you're volunteerism, we help you track hours. If it's in kind, we help you track donation of goods or services. If it's cash, it's, you know, dollars. So it all makes sense from the, the workflow. But we're also across all of those levers, tracking the same types of data.

[00:04:42] Emily: So how is this happening from an issuer perspective, from a geography perspective? Um, you know, from a programmatic perspective, we're asking the same questions regardless of what the activity is, so that you could go and run a report to say, here's everything we did for literacy this year, across all of these variables.

[00:04:59] Adam: I know some of the nonprofits in town where. I know they struggle just getting their data together. What, what are some of the issues that they run into in actually pulling that data in and getting into a system that you've been able to solve?

[00:05:12] Emily: So we know everybody who's listening to this podcast and anyone who's ever worked in this space, there's not enough humans. We, we don't have enough people. No matter how hard we try. Um, and so, you know, one of the things that we identify that's a roadblock for really great data management is just simply collecting it.

[00:05:29] Emily: So we built into our software a survey functionality. We'll say, okay, this is Adam's email. These are the 10 KPIs or the five KPIs or whatever Adam's gonna be responsible for. The system will automatically generate a survey. So you don't need a login, you don't need a fancy report that you build.

[00:05:46] Emily: It's really just about the metrics, and the system will send that automatically. So one thing we tried to do was to take time off of people's plates of like the herding of the cats, and it sounds simple if I'm just speaking to Adam, but if you are part of a program that has, you know, 20 folks that are all in similar engagements, or 200 or 2000, that starts to get really cumbersome.

[00:06:07] Emily: So number one, how can we ask people questions that are streamlined? In a way that helps to just create more efficiency, not just for the organization that's receiving the data, but for the partners, right? Like you don't wanna write. A narrative report that takes you and your team countless hours if what people really need are, you know, hey, four times a year, send me these facts.

[00:06:28] Emily: Right? That's a better thing for everybody. So we try to boil down the KPIs that are necessary, take, some of the friction away from gathering that data and just create a really nice cycle that everybody has the same expectations of what's gonna be the communications plan, so that's number one.

[00:06:45] Emily: Number two, once people have the information, I think that's a scary thing, right? Because if you're a nonprofit or a social enterprise, you know the work that you're doing is important and sometimes the data doesn't bear out the type of, information that you would like. To have is the answer, and that can be scary. But I think if you approach the conversation with your partners to say, Hey, this is our working hypothesis. Here's how we all think this is gonna go. If it doesn't go this way, if we don't have the responses or the value that we think we're going to achieve, I. We all commit to coming back to the table and reconfiguring, right?

[00:07:20] Emily: So there isn't kind of this moment where there's like a, oh no, like what's behind door number two? that everyone creates that expectation on the front end that takes some of the scariness out of data collection. Um, and then, the third thing that I would say is once you and your team identify, the right ways to make this data work. It also feels worth it if everyone's spending a ton of time collecting information for the, the sake of collecting it. But there's not a plan on what we're gonna do with it or how it's gonna flow to elected officials or donors or constituents or the people who we're serving from the beginning.

[00:07:53] Emily: It gets really cumbersome to try to spend the extra time to create these data sets in a vacuum. So I would say. really make sure you know how it's gonna be used, or have a, you know, at least the, the first level of thinking, you can always evolve it. and that I think really helps open the gate for people to say, yeah, let's do this.

[00:08:13] Adam: Got it. I would love to dive into that third piece a bit more of just like if you are a social entrepreneur or somebody who's just launching a nonprofit. How do you even think about what kind of data do I need and like why? Why do I need to collect it?

[00:08:27] Emily: Yeah,

[00:08:28] Adam: what should you be looking at?

[00:08:30] Emily: this is sort of a, maybe a counterintuitive answer because all of us wanna come in as experts and you know, we know everything, but we don't, so that's okay. Um, so one thing that I would do is, shortlist with your colleagues, who are our most important constituents. Again, you know, is it electeds? Is it. Donors, is it the people we serve? Probably all three and some others, and then ask those folks, right? So find trusted people who sort of fit within each constituency and say, we're going to, in 2024, start thinking differently about how we're collecting data. We wanna service this partnership. With the best data possible. What are the things that you all need to know from us to help secure this partnership and grow this partnership on a going forward basis, which is all of our goals? And, you'd be surprised. There are things that you wouldn't think about because you're not sitting in that person's chair, right?

[00:09:20] Emily: So, you don't need to talk to every single constituent, but if you can say, okay, we talked to some really smart people in corporate partnerships, government, you know, whatever, and these are the things you'll see that there's a through point. You'll probably have. 75% of the information will be exactly the same, which is great because you can reuse that data and then there'll be things that are only important for a specific set, and that's okay too.

[00:09:42] Emily: The other thing I'll say on that is you can't service everybody's needs a hundred percent, but you can get close. And so I would do the 80 20 rule, figure out what data's going to be the most streamlined to collect if there are things that are really hard or really expensive. You can leave that off the table and just be transparent and say, Hey, we just don't have budget to collect this, but we're gonna collect these other nine data points.

[00:10:02] Emily: Great, so, you know, really thinking about it as a, a service of the relationships and back out from there.

[00:10:09] Adam: I love that, especially this notion that we don't have to be an expert, right? So go and ask the people, who you, serving, your stakeholders and, and learn from them what they actually need before you try to go and do it.

[00:10:20] Emily: Yeah, and don't reinvent the wheel. If you are in a specific kind of ecosystem and you know you're doing this work in Ohio and there's an organization that's doing work similarly that you think you can learn from in Toronto, and they have a playbook that has specific data sets that are really smart.

[00:10:37] Emily: Great start there. You know, there's, there's no, kind of pride of authorship. I think everybody wants this work to be strong. People wouldn't be doing social impact work if they didn't care about the world. And so if there's somebody who can learn from and, credit them as you need to, but there's no reason to reinvent the wheel if there's already a smart wheel.

So what I hear there is one, there's this use of data for, for being able to report to other people on. And share like what your progress is. How do you collect data so that you know how to change what you're doing to make a better impact? Like how do you use it internally?

[00:11:14] Emily: Great question, and I would say the internal use of data is even more important than the external use of data because it's the, the easiest way. To continuously improve your work and be the best team and the best, organization that you can be. So again, we start with listening, right? You as an organization know what your mission is.

[00:11:33] Emily: This should be a workshop that you, you know, engage on at least annually to say, Hey, you know, here's what we're in business to do. Here are the various programs that we have in place to do that work. What are the things that we can collect, the metrics that we can collect to really say this premise is working.

[00:11:50] Emily: Right. Because if we're running 10 programs and only six of them are effective, and we never measure to know that we're using a lot of energy as an organization that we don't need to be using, that we could double down on the first five. Right? Number one, metrics should be utilized to establish.

[00:12:06] Emily: Is this thesis working? Is this, is this hypothesis working? Right? and so establishing those controls from the beginning are really important. If we're looking at information from a data perspective, it's not because we like Emily or we don't like Emily. It's really like, Hey. is this bearing out or is it not? Are kids getting better access to food or are they not? and so I think some of the stickiness that can come with the interpersonal pieces, which are super real data, can benefit that.

[00:12:32] Emily: And you can, you can sort of flatten out the feelings and say, Hey, we're all gonna get to a place where everybody's going to be meeting KPIs. This isn't, speaking to you at all. It's, it's us trying to understand information so that we can help everybody be the best, program partners on the team or whatever the, the sort of analysis is so.

[00:12:49] Adam: so.

[00:12:50] Emily: Hopefully that that works. I know. Easier said than done, right? I'm not the one that actually has to manage those group conversations, but data can actually be really helpful, especially when it's universally applied within the organization. and you know, the other thing that I think is. People who do this hard work, people who are social entrepreneurs or or leading nonprofits are doing it because they want it to be successful.

[00:13:11] Emily: Right? And so it really does speak to the ethos of the team members to be able to understand, okay, I'm putting my blood, sweat and tears into this community, are we achieving the goals? And, you know, if it's not moving the needle. Let's all be clear about that, or if we could be moving it more, let's be clear about that and let's all work toward that.

[00:13:29] Emily: It's usually a very motivating philosophy for people who choose to do this kind of work.

[00:13:34] Adam: And it seems like if you don't have any data, then your opinions become very personal. Right? And it's based off of your own experience. It's easy to kind of hold onto that and butt heads with other people. Whereas if you have data, it's a little bit more like you can step back and collectively look at that picture together and say, Hey, here's where we need to adjust, and so we can save our time and resources and use them as effectively as we can.

[00:13:57] Emily: For sure. And I really let you look like we're not robots. We are not completely feeling less beings, right? So of course this is gonna be tied to passion and pride and all of those other things that we all have. Um, it's really just a matter of trying to turn the temperature on the interpersonal piece down and boost the information highway so that people can try to make just more level decisions , based on. practical for the organization versus what, what feels good or trying to avoid what feels bad?

[00:14:29] Adam: Neat, do you have a good example of a company that's used ethos tracking to, to change the direction of, of what they're working on?

[00:14:36] Emily: Yeah, so, we, work with a sports team here in, in California, and as I mentioned, you know, sort of those examples of all of the ways that things flex, uh, within the business of that sports team. And I think there was a working hypothesis going in that if we could spend more money, if we had more grant funding to give out, that that would be our best way as an organization to impact community.

[00:14:59] Emily: And as it turns out, once we sort of engaged with how many people were attending, what were the net promoter scores, where people, at the school sites that we were supporting saying, Hey, I'd recommend this to another teacher or another principal. yes, of course folks. Appreciate more grant dollars, but really what created the stickiness was the players coming, having coaching sessions, helping to upskill, you know, members of the, the community team, the school team, so that they could engage with sport differently, making tickets available for students and their families. Like those sorts of things that are really. Within sort of like the superpower of this team, right? Like not all funders have all those cool extra resources. And so rather than , trying to drive a program where we were going wider and wider and putting more and more funds into, you know, schools and, and just trying to Build more. Um, we built deeper and that was something that we were able to support. And it makes a lot of sense when you think about it, right? But the data helped to bear out Wow. , when we were doing sort of these super programs , it works better and the students are more engaged and all of the things that we're trying to do around afterschool engagement, addressing covid learning loss, uh, social emotional. Engagement through sport. All those really great things that we know are great for kids, we're going better at the places where we had deeper partnerships. So that's now what the program looks like writ large. It's great. Just a note on that to pilot things, when you have data that you can a b test, it gives you the opportunity to be creative and to say, Hey, we have a working hypothesis that this, if, you know, we tinker here, it might actually make things. More powerful. Um, once you have information and data, you can, you can make those assertions and start thinking about that in your, you know, your laboratory of social good. So it's, uh, it also makes the work, I think, more dynamic and, you know, and, and more gratifying.

[00:16:53] Adam: Uh, that, that's a great example too, of just being able to say, Hey, you know, if, if you think you wanna go in one direction and you're able to look at that data and say, no, we need to focus here, that saves you so much, and what you're trying to do. One thing I I'm curious about is like, so you get all this data into the system.

[00:17:14] Adam: How do you tell the story about it? Like how do you uncover the story behind like the numbers and the figures?

[00:17:20] Emily: It's a great question, and I will say each use case is a little bit different, but our philosophy begins with this concept that there are multiple layers of data, right? So there is our what data, like what happened what were the number of people who came, you know. What were the A1C levels of the folks that we, you know, included in this program before they came and after they came?

[00:17:45] Emily: Right. So the what data? and then we get into the information that's a bit more interesting, which is the why data. So if we know that, like, let's choose literacy as an example. We know we had 20 kids participating in this program and we know that their reading levels went from below grade level to grade level within seven months.

[00:18:06] Emily: That's really helpful information, but the y data is what helps us understand if our piece of the work that, you know, the water that we are carrying up the hill is working. And so, you know, really helping to say, okay, was it the afterschool enrichment? Was it the parent engagement classes? Was it, you know, the.

[00:18:25] Emily: Books on tape, right? I'm making these things up. But when, when we're able to sort of look at information, and again, this is gonna look different for everybody to really get into that why layer? that's when I think the storytelling comes to life. So if you think of a report that you've read and it, you know, we know how much money, how many hours, how much participation.

[00:18:45] Emily: That's interesting. Potentially, right? Like, oh good, you, you did the thing, but then when we can fan that out and say. Here was the growth trajectory and here, like when we introduced this feature or when we introduced this type of programming, um, we saw a hockey stick with the eighth grade class. Or you know what?

[00:19:06] Emily: Whenever we can kind of create opportunities for us to look at data and help understand. The why. I think that's where storytelling lives, right? And so if you can set yourself up from a KPI perspective to be collecting that sort of second level data as we call it, that's really, you know, I think where the magic lives.

[00:19:24] Emily: And one of the things that I think people will recognize who look at this type of storytelling a lot is oftentimes we're pulling out an anecdote. You'll see anecdotal storytelling as a way to say, you know, our organization. Did X look at Carolyn and, and her story that's meaningful. And if you can say, look at Carolyn and her story.

[00:19:45] Emily: And Carolyn is representative of 75% of the people who have come through this program. Um, and we have raised the bar year over year 10 percentage points at a time. And next year our goal is 85% of the people will be in Carolyn's, you know, narrative that we've established. I think is when you start getting a second look, right?

[00:20:04] Emily: Or from a, from a funder or from an investor, depending on, you know, what kind of organization you're running, because that's when you're like, oh, these people have lightning in a bottle. Like they understand their value. They understand how to move the needle and how to scale it.

[00:20:20] Adam: That's great. Thanks for sharing that. I would like to, move the conversation a bit and take a look at building Ethos Tracking, and kind of what the journey was like building a tech platform in this space. whether you started with a tech background or, or not.

[00:20:34] Emily: No, I, I certainly did not. I'm a lawyer by training and I joke, I can't even spell SaaS. Like in our first emails with the developer team, I had written SaaS, like all caps, like SAAS, all caps. And he wrote back and he said, if you're gonna build a platform, you have to know how to type this. Like it's little a's Emily.

[00:20:51] Emily: And I was like, okay, clearly I should have gone home after that email, but I didn't, and. It was a, it was a lucky opportunity. I actually built a, a very small platform during Covid that in Los Angeles helped hospitals access PPE more effectively. It was like a wedding registry for social good, right?

[00:21:08] Emily: Like, so somebody could say, I need this many blank, booties or this many masks, um, so that we could help deploy resources to hospitals that didn't have big development teams who couldn't raise their hand, in our county.

[00:21:19] Adam: Do you have a client who is paying for that?

[00:21:21] Emily: No, our firm did that. Pro bono, that was just

[00:21:23] Adam: Got it.

[00:21:24] Emily: an Emily Kane Miller ethos.

[00:21:26] Emily: This thing should exist and we, we did it, , in the heart of the pandemic. And I, at the time met this great developer team that did it pro bono with me, and I really appreciated it. And I built a friendship with this, this group called atac. And their CEO David. And so I called David kind of as the pandemic, you know, was waning and said, I've got this idea, I've had it for a few years, how much would it cost?

[00:21:46] Emily: Like, could I bootstrap this? And he is like, yeah, I think we could make a prototype and you know, and beta test it. So you could have, a use case. And then, you know, once you start getting paying clients, you can continue to make the muscle stronger and blah, blah, blah. And here we are two and a half years later.

[00:22:00] Emily: Um, we have paying clients on the system and we are, you know, iterating. And, it turns out that you don't need to have a tech background. You just need to have smart people who, who can build it. And, you know, I had a vision for this thing that I could brief into people who could translate it for me. And that's been the evolution.

[00:22:18] Adam: Okay, cool. How long did it take you to build that first prototype? and get something together you could test.

[00:22:24] Emily: Yeah, so end to end, it was probably a nine month process. We were, we were testing it before it was, you know, fully polished, but I would say nine months before I showed anybody that wasn't like a personal friend that I, uh, you know, and, and it had the word beta on it for quite some time because you don't want people to judge, you know, something that.

[00:22:42] Emily: That's still work in progress. And I think what I've learned in, in this work is that any technology platform is a work in progress. You're always iterating. There are things always being learned. You're always, you know, breaking it and fixing it and breaking it and fixing it again. So I would say, um, we're like forever in beta and you know, it's been a good learning as a human.

[00:23:00] Emily: Like we should all always be iterating. Nothing is, uh, so perfect that it can't be made better, so it's, it's been a really interesting way to kind of rethink my craft and grow as a professional when I, you know, thought I had maybe plateaued or learned all the things. There's a totally new opportunity, to leverage and to, you know, to start as a novice and, and grow.

[00:23:25] Adam: Well, it sounds like you have a very broad background, so maybe you have learned everything i, I run into a lot of people and they, they are looking at building , tech platforms. Is there any advice you'd give to somebody who's like, Hey, I want to build some technology into the impact work that I'm doing.

[00:23:39] Emily: Yeah, so the first thing I would do is. As much research as possible, make sure that you're not reinventing the wheel, because I do think that's a, you know, we're constantly being asked, well, are you like this? Are you like that? And the good news is we had done a lot of research ahead of time to say, Hey, great question.

[00:23:55] Emily: We know that product, it's great for X, but it couldn't do Y, which is Y we built. Um, and still, you know, now two and a half years in Ethos tracking is the only wide lens social impact management tool that helps people track everything. Like that was our thesis. Like we needed a home base for all the data, and if you really like your volunteerism platform or you really like your, , political giving platform, great. Keep using that. We can still input the information and then you can have everything at your fingertips. So you have QuickBooks for social good, right? And so we have a good answer to that question.

[00:24:27] Emily: So that's number one. Make sure you have an answer to the question, why did you build this thing? What was missing in the world? and then the other thing is, you know, trying to connect with people who can be honest with you and who will be honest with you, so that as it, as it's being built, you know, you understand your, your audience.

[00:24:44] Emily: And in this case, I am my main audience, right? Like I run a social impact agency and I have clients that are on the tool, but it can't just work for me. It has to work for other people who don't have my brain, right? So we, we were benefited by having people that, that would test it along with us.

[00:24:59] Emily: And so that's a really important piece, as well. And you know, product market fit isn't something that you can establish before you go to market. And so, you know, it's really just making sure that you have. The ability to hear feedback, um, as it as it moves forward because there's gonna be things you didn't think about that you have to fix.

[00:25:17] Emily: And it sucks to hear like after you've put in time and money and months of energy, um, that something's not actually what people need. And you have to go kind of iterate on that piece of it. But it's really important to listen to that feedback.

[00:25:30] Adam: Well, and that's great when you can get it. Like are there any tips for, for getting objective feedback that you have?

[00:25:36] Emily: Yeah, so, you know, most of the time I imagine people are working on a project that is based in their expertise and their experience. So, you know, presuming that that's the case, looking to people who you've worked with for years or clients or former clients or whatever it may be. I think that's the, the easiest way to build is from a place of relationships and, and knowledge.

[00:25:57] Emily: If you're diving into something brand new, then I think you need to make friends very quickly who, are potential end users or, maybe even like academics or people who study the work that you're trying to engage in, depending on what the, you know, what the work is, but you need to have people that have subject matter expertise to keep you, you know, facing due north.

[00:26:18] Adam: That's something I, I come across a lot with any entrepreneur of like the balancing building, the thing with getting feedback and validation, that kind of helps you course correct quickly.

[00:26:29] Emily: And you can't be everything to everybody. Right? And I'm, I'm such a person that wants to be, I'm like, oh, great, cool idea. Like, let me bend myself in a pretzel so that I can deliver the thing that you just asked. And I had to like,. Stop myself from always being that person and, and having those moments where you say, wow, that's a really interesting use case.

[00:26:46] Emily: It's just not in our strike zone. Um, and it, like even saying it now on the podcast, it like makes me feel like icky, uh, like I'm getting like itchy even. But you can't be successful if you, if you're constantly following a million, red herrings.

[00:27:01] Adam: That makes sense. So two and a half years with Ethos tracking, how long have you been running Ethos Giving?

[00:27:07] Emily: Almost five years.

[00:27:09] Adam: Five years. Wow, how has that changed you as a person?

[00:27:14] Emily: I think launching the business has changed me as a person in a number of ways. The first is I. If you would've told me 10 years ago that I would've started not just one company, but two, I would've laughed. Like I, I would've been the first to tell you, I'm not a particularly entrepreneurial person. I love being part of a big established organization.

[00:27:32] Emily: I've worked in government, I've worked in big corporations, like that's my, that's my jam, and so I think one of the things that I've learned in starting these businesses is to not box myself in and to not define myself ahead of time. You know that you try things and it turns out. If you like them and they work, they work, and it doesn't matter that you didn't see yourself as X person or Y person. If, if you're good at it, you are, and it, it becomes true. Um, so that's been really interesting. And I think the other thing that I've learned is, that you don't, again, kind of going back to this idea of you don't need to be everything for everybody.

[00:28:06] Emily: I think when you start business, you know, you're so focused on landing deals and making sure that you're, you know, bringing in income. There's, there's no more 401k, there's no more, you know, monthly paycheck, but that the, the work that you take in the work that you don't take are equally important. Um, the projects that kind of help you grow your.

[00:28:27] Emily: Business in the direction that you want it to grow, is a really strategic and important thing that it took me a few years to develop and obviously I'm, I'm, it's a lucky thing to be able to say, oh, that project doesn't make sense for us. But if you're stretching outside of what is actually like your reson debt, you're doing a disservice to the business.

[00:28:45] Emily: And so building that muscle, and again, you know, being able to say no and think about. The work in, in what's good for the growth of the business , is something that I think has helped me be a better person and a better mom, right? Like the developing a, a strong filter is just a beneficial tool as a human and something that the business has helped me grow.

[00:29:05] Adam: Now, that seems like a, a very hard thing to learn how to do of just saying no, that's not where we wanna focus our attention. Maybe if it's your kid, you can be like, no, you're not gonna eat chocolate cake for dinner. , but for a business you can be like, no, I'm not gonna bake that chocolate cake for you.

[00:29:21] Emily: I'm not gonna bake that chocolate cake for you. Exactly. No. And look like not every idea is a good idea, right? And so to be able to kind of take yourself out of a moment, identify like, what am I trying to do here? What am I here to build? What am I here to grow? , and is this serving that thing? Not, not every. Decision needs to be that moment. That's a, that's an exhausting way to live your life. But when there are moments that are consequential, when, when big choices are happening, you know, do I take this monster client that's gonna take me away from the other half of the business or, you know, whatever the thing is, or, you know, where's my kid going to school next year?

[00:29:56] Emily: Like, these sort of larger questions, being able to look at them in a clear-eyed way that is. About what's objectively beneficial for the larger goal, is a great muscle to build.

[00:30:07] Adam: Got it. And so it seems like part of that is just being crystal clear on what that larger goal is. And so you can evaluate things as they come in.

[00:30:16] Emily: Yeah. You have to know where you're driving if you're gonna get there.

[00:30:19] Adam: So what's the ideal client, for using ethos tracking?

[00:30:24] Emily: So, it's funny 'cause I'm answering this question in like a very broad way, which is the opposite of what I just suggested people do, but I promise it all makes sense, so we say ethos tracking is for anyone who wears a good cape. So if you are somebody who self-identifies as creating. Benefit for society.

[00:30:42] Emily: And that can be as a business, that can be as a family foundation, it could even be as an elected official. Right? and you are trying to wrap your arms around a number of different types of data sets as we mentioned this. You know, it's not just about the cash that's important, but there's also stuff and time and investments and, whatever those other things are , you know, social media engagement. Hearts and minds work. Um, that's hard to do, to have that all encapsulated in one system, and that's what we provide. So if you are in multiple lanes. And you are looking for easier ways to bring data in and then to streamline that information to help you make better decisions, tell better stories, be more effective in community.

[00:31:24] Emily: We are a great tool for that. And so usually that means we're working with nonprofits or businesses that have a cornerstone value in creating impact for society, we've learned that, that the tool can flex, as I said, for all sorts of different constituents, which is really cool to see.

[00:31:40] Adam: Where do people go to, to connect with you and, and find out more?

[00:31:45] Emily: Great question. I appreciate you asking. So, you can easily find me on LinkedIn. Again, my name is Emily Kane Miller and our website is And there's all sorts of information and also, easy intake form where you can help, raise your hand and say you wanna talk. And we would love to chat.

[00:32:05] Adam: I love that. Great. To wrap up, is there anything else that, people should know about Ethos Tracking or getting involved or supporting the work that you're doing?

[00:32:14] Emily: So I'll just say, this is. A philosophy, right? So it's okay if you listen to this and say, yeah, that's not for me. Not, not everything needs to be measured. Not everything needs to be managed. But I will say, you know, for most of your listeners, there is something within their organization that would benefit from measurement and management.

[00:32:34] Emily: And you don't need to apply this philosophy to the broad. Cloth it can be specific to a program. So don't feel overwhelmed if you're like, well, if we measure like these three programs, then we gotta measure these other 10 and that's gonna be terrifying. Um, start with what's possible. Start with what's going to really benefit the organization and the work. Uh, you know, eat the elephant one bite at a time, and then it starts to feel really manageable. And, and you'd be surprised how quickly, you know, collecting this kind of information if you're not already in the business of doing it. Can. Become a, a huge muscle and something that you grow, so don't be afraid to start small

[00:33:13] Adam: Emily, thank you so much for, for joining me today, it's been a really fun conversation just starting with diving into impact measurement, what that looks like, what that means, to kind of your experience building a technology company and what you learned from that. I feel like we covered a lot of ground.

[00:33:28] Adam: That's really cool.

[00:33:29] Emily: for sure. Thank you so much for having me. This was really fun.

[00:33:33] Adam: And if you're listening, you can go find out more on, and more resources for links and social media will be in the show notes on people helping people that world. So thank you very much and until next time, cheers.

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