Why reporting the number of people served is often not enough.
There are two central questions all organizations in the social sector must be ready to answer: Did your organization and its programmatic effort fulfill its stated mission? And to what degree were the anticipated results achieved?
Funders and supporters want to know what quantifiable and socially desirable changes have occurred as a result of a particular programmatic or organizational effort.
Let's use this fictitious example to illustrate why reporting the number of people served is often not enough. In this example, your organization seeks to reduce homelessness in a specific area within one year. At the end of the year, you report to your funders and supporters that through your programs you have helped 1000 people transition from living in the streets to housing facilities. Great job, 1000 is the number of people you have served.
But what if you shared with your funders that there are 10,000 homeless people in the area you are focused on, and out of those 10,000 you helped 1000, in year one, accounting for 10% of your target audience. And, for year two you wish to increase your goal to help an additional 2000 people. What you will have effectively done is created a measurable goal which shows your growth and impact. This example is depicted in the chart above. It is okay to share that there is more work to be done, as long as you are showing growth.
Knowing what outcomes to measure starts by understanding where you are today and what you want to achieve tomorrow.
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