Author: Dr Clara Ong
3 mins read
Metrics for outcomes measurement come in many types, but they are generally categorisable based on sector and the organisation’s intended outcomes. For example, an organisation that delivers education to girls living in remote areas would have very different outcomes, hence metrics, to an organisation that develops leadership skills among urban youth.
Metrics quantify whether a program has achieved its intended outcomes. They are tangible and quantifiable indicators of whether change has occurred.
Coming up with the right metrics for your measurement project can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
Metrics for social outcomes measurement do not need to be created from scratch for every single program. Starting from a blank canvas each time can risk adding inefficiencies and complexity to your measurement project.
We are already seeing a growing body of online metric catalogues to help organisations easily get started with their social outcomes measurement. Examples include IRIS and Global Value Exchange. Other tools like Socialsuite go a step further by helping organisations build capacity, through wrapping data collection capabilities around its library of outcome metrics.
In this article, I will highlight the benefits of using already existing industry-based metrics in your measurement project.
1. Using standardised metrics will add rigour to your measurement project
In a 2020 poll we conducted of more than 200 respondents, greater than 80% said they are more likely to donate to a charity that can prove its impact. We also know from our experience working with the sector, that funders particularly Government are starting to mandate outcome reporting as part of their funding requirement.
Evidence-based funding is gaining fast momentum and organisations who are unable to demonstrate robust evidence of their program’s outcomes could be left behind.
Standardised metrics are typically designed by experts or research-based institutions, backed by a rigorous methodology and validity. Using metrics such as these will give you the assurance that the data you collect provides a reliable evidence-base for internal (e.g., making critical decisions around resource allocation, strategy etc) and external (e.g., securing funding, gaining the trust of your donors, beneficiaries etc) uses.
2. Standardised metrics provide a benchmark
Using bespoke metrics restrict you from comparing your program’s outcomes against other similar programs within your sector.
On the other hand, using standardised metrics enable you to perform benchmarking.
Benchmarking sets the bar for your program’s performance, and encourages your program staff to rise and meet it. This ensures that your organisation only delivers a high standard of care and service to its beneficiaries, and will earn you tremendous credibility and stakeholder trust.
Benchmarking also provides much needed visibility on the areas of your program that need further improvement, ultimately creating a culture of evidence-based decision making and continuous improvement.
3. Simplifies the measurement process for your organisation
There will be less friction in enlisting the support and buy-in of your staff into outcomes measurement, if you can assure them that the process is simple and adds little to their workload.
Using already existing metrics simplifies the process of setting up a measurement project, and it demystifies the perception that you have to be a researcher or a data scientist in order to create and implement your own measurement project.
Anyone can run their own measurement projects. With the right tools to draw from, such as a curated library of measurement templates and metrics, any organisation can start a measurement project as easily as they would a simple poll or survey.
Have you checked out Socialsuite Grow? Socialsuite Grow lets organisations get started with a measurement project in just a few simple steps, as it comes with a library of measurement templates that includes industry-based and expert designed metrics specific different outcome domains.