Making Our Story Count

By Marianne Downing

One of the most exciting developments in the nonprofit sector in recent years has been the growing emphasis on impact or measuring outcomes. Although this is more than an art than a science at times, this drive to measure outcomes is an important tool in assisting organizations to remain focused on their missions.

The questions that we ask are fundamental to keeping an eye on our success (or otherwise) and being able to create quality services or products that make a difference.

  • How can I articulate our mission in terms of what impact we are seeking to achieve?
  • Are we currently measuring the impact we are having or are we simply counting outputs? 
  • Do our board and staff have stories of our successes and outcomes to share with those around them?
  • Are we willing to accept both positive and negative results of our evaluation as growing points to adjust our program or service? 
  • And related, are we willing to communicate outside of our organization when we are not achieving our desired impact?
  • How will we communicate our success stories to the people who count? Our constituents? Our donors? The wider community?

The following article by McKinsey and Company uses the example of the Nature Conservancy to illustrate an excellent process in re-focusing what we measure. This article contains some excellent advice on how to shift to measuring what matters to our mission.

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For more information on telling the story of your impact, email us at  or contact Marianne Downing directly at 908-907-7417.