Making a Difference and Evaluating Our Impact
At NBT, we believe that the only measure of our success is the impact we make in the community through our leadership, support and programs.
Strategy seems to be the area we talk about the most because it’s exciting, it’s creative, and it’s rooted in purpose; however, one area that is not discussed intently is on Evaluating Our Impact. As a sector, all of our Strategic Planning has an emphasis on driving results, but I would venture to guess that although we can talk about the good we do… and even the good we set out to make, we do a poor job tracking our impact. In fact, not many of us stop after two-three years of implementation to think, is this working? Or, even better, how can improve?
Here, at NBT, we know it’s not enough to develop new programs; they must be tested against metrics for evaluating their effectiveness, so we can improve upon them. With an objective around strengthening our overall evaluation process to measure impact year-to-year, we partnered with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling to help us develop a more robust evaluation plan for measuring impact, through the support of a Community-University Research Partnership Grant.
"... the only measure of our success is the impact we make in the community..."
Our rationale is rooted in the realization that fundraising in the not-for-profit sector relies heavily on our ability to both make and convey impact - - it’s both telling the story, and proving it. Thus, we believe that the impact of this project could be far reaching, beyond just informing New Brunswick-focused organizations and institutions, to help establish a shared metrics system focused on measuring what matters for driving community change. This is unique in the not-for-profit sector.
We don’t all have to do things the exact same way to achieve good results – but sharing our knowledge and learning can impact lives beyond New Brunswick’s borders.
As we begin this work, we will tackle the herculean task of archiving the New Brunswick Community Survey, since its inception - - the longest running community survey in the country. We’ll then set a series of indicators and benchmarks for measuring our impact on quality of life in the city, and, ultimately, a shared metrics system with targets we can measure against.
We will share our research with others along the way, and I look forward to hearing from you about your own research, learning, and best practices.