Measuring how much your organization matters

Read an interesting piece last night on community engagement from Chris Corrigan, Canadian facilitator and blogger who moves within the space between.

He mentions several principles such as “find a centre, find something that you can continually come back to that roots you in who you are” and “don’t sacrifice relationships at the altar of efficiency.”

He also made a great point about foundations and measurements. Excerpt from the transcript of his talk pasted below. He’s discussing how smaller organizations can measure their effectiveness:

“The native radio stations they run in the States get funded predominantly by their own sources, but they also get funded by foundations. Some of the foundations were saying, ‘We have to have a way of measuring your effectiveness.’

I don’t know if you’ve traveled in the States or if you have a radio station at home. We’re talking about tiny little radio stations.

They asked, ‘How do you want us to prove that we’re effective?’

The foundations said, ‘You have to show the number of listeners you have.’

‘Is 15 enough, because that’s how many we’ve got? This is so confusing,’ the stations replied….

So we said, ‘How do you measure the impact of a tiny little radio station when all it does is language programming?’ It’s a very important role with very few listeners. So we began by asking the question, ‘What would happen if the radio station disappeared overnight?’

When you confront your own death you get really clear about the role you play in the world. If they started recording all of their ideas around, here’s what we really do, here’s who we really are, here’s how you can measure us, so the number of language speakers in the community, the number of people that get vaccinated, the number of people that get out of the way of the floodwaters when we broadcast emergency messages, these are all ways to measure our impact. If we didn’t have that media then people will be swept away all the time.

People are totally capable of coming up with measuring their own work.”

Read more of Corrigan’s thoughts on community engagement.