When you’re deciding on the data your team will track to help you articulate your organisation’s impact, so you can secure more support, it’s easy to get carried away. You can quickly find yourself drowning in metric mayhem. To keep it simple, stay focused on:
The problem you’re looking to solve and the factors that contribute to that problem.
The primary output of your operations - how you make a difference.
The end game. The big-picture goal your organisation is trying to achieve.
And last, but by no means least, metrics that will be easy for your team to obtain and track, accurately and reliably, on a regular basis.
Narrow your metrics down to a manageable and meaningful handful of short-term outputs and long-term impacts. It may just be one for each for your programs, and one or two for your organisation as a whole.
The easiest place to start is with your short-term outputs
Depending on your goals, and the nature of your programs and services, you may need to think a little laterally about how you can quantify outputs and the tangible impact of your day-to-day work. You might start with metrics such as:
The number of hours served to deliver a vital support service
The number of physical items delivered to support individuals/communities
The number of individuals who have received/benefited from the service/items directly
And what’s the longer-term impact because of that?
Give your results some real-world meaning so your supporters can see how these short-term results are fixing the problem you’re focused on and affecting positive big-picture outcomes. For example:
Are people healthier?
Are people able to work because they’re healthier?
How does this benefit their family/children?
How does this benefit the wider community/local economy?
Give meaning to your metrics with storytelling
Transparency around impact will certainly build greater trust in your organisation and better understanding of the value of your work. But giving is an emotional experience after all, so give your donors and volunteers something that will move them. Bring those metrics to life with real-world examples from the field of how your work has brought positive change to one individual, one family, one community, one habitat. This also gives you the opportunity to communicate the kind of impact that can’t be measured with metrics - the mental, emotional and social impact that you made possible.
Across this series of Caboodle blog posts, we’ll be sharing key steps and ideas to help you kick-start your year-round impact communications strategy, including how and where to communicate your impact.