As grant professionals, we all know how important the evaluation section of any proposal is. All funders want to measure their social impact.
Logic models that lay out an organization’s inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes are a popular method for evaluating program success, but if you’re looking for a more robust, organizational level performance measurement system, you may want to read “Building a Performance Measurement System: A Root Cause How-to Guide”.
As Root Cause indicates on its web site,
- “This practical guide provides an easy-to-follow, five-step process for developing a customized performance measurement system that will serve as an essential tool for any organization seeking to: measure progress in achieving its mission, goals, and visions develop dashboards and learn how to analyze performance data; create a culture of learning and continuous improvement among management, board, and staff; develop report cards to communicate performance; and use data-based evidence to build funder confidence.”
Written specifically for nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses that offer innovative, results-driven solutions to social problems (social innovators), the how-to guide helps answer the following questions:
- 1. How well is our organization progressing against our mission and goals? How do we know?
- 2. What should we measure in order to have critical information without becoming overwhelmed with data?
- 3. How should we report and discuss our performance internally among staff and board members to maximize learning?
- 4. Where should we focus our organization’s limited resources in order to increase our effectiveness today and achieve sustainability over the longer term?
- 5. How can we most effectively measure and communicate our performance and impact to external stakeholders?
An excellent guide, “Building a Performance Measurement System: A Root Cause How-to Guide” is an easy read with clear instructions, helpful examples, and templates throughout. Electronic versions of templates are available online.
Unlike most performance measurement approaches, this guide helps you select and track three types of indicators in one easy-to-use table:
- 1. Organizational Health Indicators, i.e. financial sustainability
- 2. Program Performance Indicators, i.e. activities and outputs
- 3. Social and Economic Impact Indicators, i.e. outcomes, systemic impact
Going through the process outline may even have you refining your vision and mission statement and adding substance to your strategic plan!
I give this resource my highest possible recommendation. Add it to your library of references on performance evaluation and measurement.
You can download a no cost PDF of the guide here, or a purchase a hard copy of Building a Performance Measurement System: Using Data to Accelerate Social Impact on Amazon.com.