Measuring real-time impact in your work

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Measuring Impact – Anh’s and Steve’s Session


Group Questions:


Article from Steve: ‘it’s all about MeE?’ - http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/its-all- about-mee_1.pdf

  • How do you measure impact when you do not know who you audience is
  • Being able to measure as you go (not summative, but immediate impact)
  • Measure second bottom line
  • How to measure impact of community building (events, actions, etc.)


outcome stories vs. data

  • Survey, focus groups (qualitative) are good but not fast enough – what are some quicker methods?
  • Social enterprises and determining how good they’re working
  • How to track how many newspapers are actually given out (impact of stories but also sales/audience) —> also to determine WHAT people will actually be interested in/read


Notes on what’s already being used to measure:

  • Re aim framework (asking and mapping who people are connected to for skill building) – based on how many touches are happening
  • Getting alignment right and determining who’s responsible for measuring impact (e.g. randomized controlled trials). What helps is helping people let go of causality.
  • You choose to do things every day and you pay people to do those things, so you are making those decisions based on something (you are measuring some kind of impact even if it’s informal)
  • What is the easy stuff to measure (e.g. downloads, number of clients reached, etc.)
  • How do you change the rubric from which funders are measuring impact (may need to renegotiate impact with funders –e.g. personal stories vs. numbers)
  • Events are tough to measure because often times organizations don’t have a universal reason for why the event is being held
  • How can one measure whether you are any good at what you do –

this is how you have your impact story. Building theory of change through this is helpful.

  • Lean startup is a good methodology (how do you continually watch the behavior of your customer relative to your outputs) – does it inform you about the question of “am I any good?”
  • Generally funders don’t want to create the metrics; rather they want you to build strong metrics as part of your compelling story
  • Important for funders to know about your Theory of Change (Simon Sinek – TOC – Golden Circle) —> WHY are we doing this rather than WHAT —> why are we doing what we’re doing and how are we making an impact
  • WHY is typically an answer for 10 years down the road (vision, long term impact) —> important questions is how to get there (the interim)
  • “Embracing Emergence” by FSG / Tamarac (rigorous application, worth checking out)
  • None of us can accomplish the big WHY by ourselves. If we get better as saying where we’re going and what we want, we will improve at finding alignment
  • Rather than talking about causation, it’s better to talk about contribution (tell the story that way)
  • Important to accept that we can only do so much – a certain percentage


  • Formative, summative, and now developmental
  • Sometimes the numbers are too small for the market to care – not about quantity in conveying impact but rather quality can be explained via stories


  • Shoah Foundation (check it out for story collection – testimonials)


  • How do you measure stability? (tough to quantify)
  • Contributing your stories back into the field is important


  • Is learning something a measure of impact (e.g. we tried

this,it didn’t work, we learned that —> Typically funders don’t care about this because they expect results about promises made.


  • Sharing successful stories but also being transparent about what didn’t work – giving a face to the challenges may be appreciated by the donors (not just about meeting numbers, but about improving and being honest about the struggles and improvements)


  • Idea: build tools into the product being sold so that you can measure user behavior data – see how they’re using what you’ve created