We all want to know if the work we do is positively impacting our community's goal.
However, when evaluating our community efforts, we need to be careful not to fall into the trap of solely relying on vanity metrics.
Vanity metrics such as page views, event attendance rates, and email open rates may look impressive, but they can be misleading. While these metrics can paint a rosy picture of our community's success, they are often vague without context and do not reflect the reality of the situation. Ultimately vanity metrics can lead to flawed decisions that risk negatively impacting the community's health.
Going Beyond Vanity Metrics
We met with members of iac Berlin, a "think and do" tank dedicated to building meaningful networks for social impact, for a one-hour webinar to discuss how they go beyond vanity metrics to measure the true impact of their community.
Click to watch the webinar replay or keep reading to discover some of the key takeaways.
Accept That you Cannot Measure Everything
iac Berlin's goal is to support members in their contributions to society. However, the team is aware that given the complexity of the network, they cannot measure everything that happens—they only have part of the picture.
For this reason, they focus not only on demonstrating what they learn from different evaluations but also on how they plan for impact. By demonstrating the logic behind different community initiatives and how they relate to the bigger picture of the community, the team can demonstrate to decision-makers and funders that what they are doing makes sense, even if they cannot tell all the community stories.
Combine Vanity Metrics with More Meaningful Metrics to see a Fuller Picture
IAC Berlin endeavours to match as much quantitative and qualitative data as possible. According to the team, the event attendance rate is not an irrelevant number; however, it does not explain the effect the event has on the community structure. After each event, the teams send a survey to get more information from each participant. The team is especially interested in discovering how many people met for the first time and how many are meeting again.
Collaborate with Other Departments
Usually, the more people that know about your community in your organization, the better.
You may be on a tight schedule, tight budget, or tight resources, but it is crucial to regularly take a step back and look at your community's bigger picture.
Ask yourself what other departments could benefit from your community and its insights. These departments could also give information and inspiration to improve your community.
Click here to listen to the webinar in full to discover more about these three ideas as well as the other topics discussed!
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