I arrived late for Amy Sherman’s workshop titled “Measure Your Ministry’s Effectiveness,” but I still picked up a few general helpful comments.
Of course, there was the obvious: Set specific goals and measure progress.
Here’s something I think a lot of us need to hear: Donors want more than anecdotes. They want to know outcomes. They want to answer the “So what?” question.
For our churches, “donors” translates to “members.”
Ask questions like, How many… how long or intense were your efforts? … What exactly did you do?
In the end, donors really want to know what difference your ministry made.
Outcomes: A target audience’s CHANGED or improved skills, attitudes or knowledge by participating in your program.
To measure the outcomes you must discover indicators, the observable evidences of those looked –for accomplishments, changes or gains.
Example: Do a pre and post test.
Some indicators are easy to measure/obtain. Others are challenging.
Schools will have reading scores, grades, attendance records.
For the harder-to-measure stuff, where do we go?… In our ministries, we usually want to see ooshee-gushee things like transformation that are difficult to measure.
Self-reported data is better than no data.
Casey Life Skills Assessment is online and free… available in English and Spanish… It’s for tweens and teens (I think)… It generates self-reported data and some third-party data…. It captures hard data and soft data… Casey will generate aggragate data results… Casey is not a Christian or spiritual group… Other tools are needed for that…. this might also work OK with younger adults, but leader should check and see if questions are appropriate to their group….
You can come up with your only template to access your progress.
Challenge: Though ministry leaders may “do the right things” (e.g., holistic, relational, ministry), they may not have the reasearch evidence at their fingertips to “back up” the value of their approach.
Here are some sources for Best Practice info:
1) Fasten’s Best Practice Checklists (fasten.org)… topically oriented summations drawn from literature reviews of evaluations/reports/studies
2) “Trade Associations” or Research Institutes in your social service field (like CCDA)… Christian Community Health Fellowship….
3) The Search Institutes’s “40 Developmental Assets” … 40 key factors that affect a youth’s ability to thrive. The more assets a youth has, the less likely she is to engage in risk behaviors and the more likely she is to exhibit positives behaviors and attitudes…. foundations are really into these paradigms….