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TruServe: The CRH's system helps non-profits improve performance.

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TruServe is a web-based tracking system that allows non-profit organizations to show what they are doing on a day-to-day basis.
It’s no secret—budgetary times are tough.  Federal, state, and local budgets are being trimmed.  Among many things, the budgetary environment we are living in can seem to foretell a precarious future for non-profit agencies. Those working for causes that are important to the well-being of our communities, states, and country can feel the threat of losing dollars.  One thing non-profit organizations can do to combat this pressure is recognize that this new environment requires them to emphasize accountability, reliability, and responsiveness. In order to do this, agencies need the ability to establish what they have done and establish the effect of their actions. To assist in this matter, the Center for Rural Health (CRH) has created a product: TruServe. 

TruServe is a web-based tracking system that allows non-profit organizations to show what they are doing on a day-to-day basis. The Center for Rural Health, a non-profit organization within the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, is highly reliant on grant-funding. So, TruServe was created to track outcomes of the work the CRH does. TruServe strengthens an organization’s ability to collect measurable outcomes so that organization can establish the effect its programs have, furthering greater understanding of the effect of the funds used for those programs. TruServe collects program data to facilitate planning, information dissemination, program reports, resource allocation, and staffing.  The current environment for virtually all organizations is one that emphasizes organizational performance. Data collection and measurement are elements used to determine performance.   

TruServe works only as well as the information its users enter into it. Users can enter technical assistance they provided, a meeting they held, a presentation they gave, or any other number of tasks they have completed.  They enter what the activity was, when it was held, the location, a short description about the encounter, the amount of time associated with the activity, and some other identifying information.  For example, a user could enter a technical assistance call they had concerning a community needs assessment. They could enter whom they talked to, what organization that person is with, what grant the assistance correlates to, and what information they provided to that person. This provides evidence of the effect of effort. Additionally, it provides both a reliable database and one that allows an organization to develop a consistent and rational means to measure and report performance.

Once the information is in the system, the true magic can happen. All information entered into TruServe is able to be used in a variety of ways by any of its users. The strength of TruServe is the program’s ability to take entered information and use it to create reports and maps at the click of a button.

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