Ready, Set… Go-als!

Alvin Kraenzlein Winner of the 60m, the 110m h...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At what point does measurement become a hindrance?  Ask yourself the following two questions to help decipher if your measurement tool is useful or not.

1)    Does the measurement track your end goal?

I purposely used the word “track” because it makes me reflect back on my track (and yes shot-put) days.  Specifically it makes me think about running the quarter mile hurdles; the start line was ironically also the end line. “Start at the end” seems like circular logic found in Allison in Wonderland; however, true visionaries have the capability to keep focused on their end goal.

There have been many times when I have been part of a brainstorming session; my group will come up with many innovative, creative and fun ideas. In the midst of our excitement we will have to assess if it helps our end goal.  Many brilliant ideas have ended up in the trash can because in the end it wouldn’t get us closer to what we are trying to accomplish.  It becomes “wasted.”

I feel this way about measurement.  There are many fun and flashy measurement tools but if it doesn’t get you to your desired result it creates a different kind of waste: a waste of time and resources.


2) Does the cost exceed the benefits?

I think the most predominate example in this category has to do with donor/recipient relationships.  Sometimes donors have lengthy reporting requirements which exceed the benefit of the donation.  I’ve had many donors give $10,000+ with no strings attached while other donors gave $5000 that required weekly reports.  This became a case where the measurement became a hindrance.

Other examples may include the concept of diminishing returns.  You could survey 100% of your recipients to get 100% accurate results on how your program benefited their lives.  However, this would be extremely time and resource consuming.  f you are willing for a small percentage of error you can save yourself a lot of time.  For example if you have a population of 5000 people and you are okay with a 4% error rate, you only need to survey 392 people for 90% confidence.

The goal with this concept is figuring out how to work smarter not harder.  i.e. How do you find larger donors with less reporting criteria?