For mission-driven organizations striving to satisfy multiple bottom lines—from traditional business key performance indicators to social impact results—it can be challenging to determine which measures to select and track for the purpose of illustrating the overall health and accomplishments of the organization. While there’s no silver bullet in terms of a core set of performance measures that are consistent from organization to organization, or even from community to community, there are some characteristics that can help guide the process. In this blog, we’ve highlighted four key traits that you should look for when selecting your organization’s performance measures.

1. They Have Face Validity: Words and Labels Matter
It is critical to involve the organization’s team members who are delivering the program or service in order to validate that the measures selected best reflect the value or performance of the program or service. Teams must also be aligned related to whether or not, or how, the program has or can demonstrate these proposed measures for tracking over the long term. Finally, the perceived and true meaning of the words and labels ascribed to these measures must be clear and unambiguous across all stakeholder groups.

2. They Reflect the Needs of All Stakeholders
Another litmus test for determining whether or not the performance measures you select are the right ones, is to check that they are meaningful, not only to the leadership team, but across all of the organization’s stakeholder groups. This trait is important because it emphasizes the organization’s “whys” and helps tie the performance measures to the broader organizational goals.

3. They are Simple to Understand
Because social sector organizations communicate to so many stakeholder groups, it is critical that the language around each organization’s performance measures is simple to understand. The rise of infographics throughout various industries underscores the increased competition for time and attention across all audiences, and the social sector is definitely not immune to these trends. Performance measures should also be easily translated into each team member’s individual roles and performance goals, so that the entire organization is aligned around providing the most value possible.

4. They are Poised for Timely Communications
By having the ability to track and report results in a timely fashion, organizations can take a more agile approach to accomplishing mission outcomes. Course corrections, celebrating successes and abandoning activities that are ineffective, are all part and parcel to the full realization of a high-performance measurement culture.

How Measurement Resources Helps Social Sector Organizations Select the Right Measures
For over a decade, Measurement Resources has helped social sector organizations identify and select the right performance measures that best move missions forward. Our work spans multiple areas, from arts organizations, collective impact initiatives and health and human services agencies to foundations, government and social enterprise groups.

Contact us today to schedule a call to learn more about how we can help your organization advance your mission outcomes.