Donors and stakeholders of any organization want to know their investment is reaping a harvest. In order to demonstrate success, your ministry must use a variety of metrics to show its impact. With so many different key performance indications (KPIs) available to you, what is the best way to communicate the impact of your ministry to stakeholders?
Here is my recommendation: begin at the end. One year from now, what story do you want to tell? If you are writing your annual report, or you are on the phone with a major donor, what numbers indicate results? Be sure you are picking statistics that will showcase success, not merely busyness.
Here are three keys to consider when determining your ministry’s impact.
1. Determine the key statistics that prove effectiveness.
Ensure your ministry has continuity in the metrics you use. For example, do not use a statistic about access to clean water to measure the problem and then talk about handing out clothing as the solution. Make sure the problem you are addressing and your solution are related. If you are a food pantry, illustrate the need by highlighting the percentage of the population in your area who are food insecure and the exact number of people in need.
Next, tell donors how you are effectively solving the problem. “We served 7,200 people last week. That is more than 50% of those in our community who are in need, but we have more work to do.” Use accurate statistics, and pose them to tell the story you want to communicate.
2. Consider both lead and lag indicators.
To demonstrate the impact your ministry has, you will want to use both lead and lag indicators. Lead indicators are predictive and measure change. Think of lead indicators in terms of your efforts. This could be the number of meetings with donors or the number of care packages passed out last month. Lag indicators focus on output and measure results. A lag indicator could be the total amount of donations from your most recent campaign or the number of people who visited your organization after receiving a care package.
Lead and lag indicators help demonstrate how your efforts correlate into impact. As your lead indicator increases, your lag indicator should increase as well. If there is no change or lead and lag indicators move in opposite directions, pivot and focus your efforts where they have the most impact.
3. Show value in what you communicate.
Convey to your stakeholders and donors how you are a part of the larger solution that goes beyond just your individual organization. Are you partnering with other people or organizations to do more together? Say so! Do you use cutting edge processes or procedures? This is your opportunity to communicate the impact that goes beyond the numbers.
Finally, do not forget to share the stories of transformation and change that come about because of your organization. Numbers are great at proving impact and effectiveness. However, people give to people. With every statistic you share, include a story that connects a person to the problem and illustrates that number. Your ministry is working fearlessly to advance the Kingdom, so be sure the statistics you share with stakeholders show the impact of your ministry’s efforts.