Someone remarked to me the other day, “Oh, I think measurement is great; it helps a lot of companies figure out what they are doing well and not so well and helps them plan, but I’m not sure I understand how it can help us.” I thought about that comment and realized that people in many organizations probably feel the same way. They’ve heard of other organizations’ success with measurement initiatives, but they just aren’t sure how it can help them be successful, too. From my experience, measurement and evaluation can help every type of organization. Consider the following examples:
Government: In the government arena, the focus is all about proving to constituents and regulating bodies you are being good stewards – of their trust and of public funds. Emphasis is placed on responding to rising fiscal pressure and compliance obligations.
For government organizations, this charge means even greater attention on program performance, informed resource allocation, and accountability. Governments are being tasked with tracking progress against desired outcomes and enhancing program benefits where possible.
Measurement & evaluation helps governments assess how program goals are being accomplished and develop methodologies to improve results. Information gained through a measurement and evaluation process becomes the foundation for launching an ongoing strategic initiative to reach desired goals – in the time allotted and within budget.
Nonprofits: Nonprofit organizations are certainly feeling the pinch when it comes to funding, donors, clients, human resources, and media attention.
For nonprofits, responsibilities include demonstrating to a myriad of stakeholders they are efficiently managing their organization, achieving desired program outcomes, achieving excellence with limited resources, displaying trustworthiness of funds, and exhibiting overall organizational accountability.
Measurement & evaluation enables nonprofit organizations to uncover their unique value proposition, and provides immediate and long-term benefits of informed strategic planning, increased operational knowledge, identifies areas for improvement, enhances fundraising success, and demonstrates stewardship and accountability.
Corporate: Today’s corporate environment has become more challenging as companies contract due to the market.
For corporate organizations, companies are being asked to do more with a leaner staff and an even leaner budget. In addition, companies must continually add a steady stream of new customers allowing their organization to grow in market share, revenue and, subsequently, benefit to shareholders. Companies must keep a check on processes that have achieved a level of success, and those that are costing the company valuable resources. Which ones do you keep? How do you really know how well you are doing against goals? What data collection methods do you have in place (and, more importantly, how effective are they)? How are data being turned into useful information? The questions seem almost endless.
Measurement and evaluation assists in creating strategy to acquire meaningful data which can be translated to business action.