It’s not how many worms the bird feeds its young, but how well the fledgling flies. (United Way of America, 2002)
We are engaging in a significant initiative in what we call leading with information. LwI is an intentional plan to add objective, outcome-based measures to our use of anecdotal, life stories in measuring effectiveness in accomplishing our mission.
It is helpful to understand four types of measures:
- Inputs: Resources dedicated to or consumed by the organization
- Activities: What the organization does with inputs to fulfill its mission
- Outputs: The direct products of organization activities
- Outcomes: The differences the organization makes
It is easiest to measure inputs: how many staff are on the field, funds raised. Activities are things the staff do each day: gospel presentations, bible studies led. Outputs are things like: exposures to the gospel, indicated decisions. Outcomes are the most difficult to quantify: changed lives, behavioral changes.
Since outcomes are the most difficult to measure but are the most important measures of mission success, it is important to identify and quantify the key drivers of each outcome. But to identify the key drivers, it is important to understand the end-to-end process flow and the critical points in the process.
Changed lives are the result of God’s direct intervention. Most of the time, God chooses to work through his people. God does not share his glory with anyone, but he does invite us into his processes in the lives of others. We do have a part.
We are working through these issues. We are seeking God’s wisdom to measure our part with excellence so that we can improve.
[NOTE: Click here to read my notes from several articles and papers I’ve read.]