See Benefits of Outcome Measurement
survey conducted on behalf of the United Way of America found that
non-profit programs have realized benefits from their investment
in outcome measurement, although developing and implementing outcome
measurement systems is not without its challenges.
survey asked program directors for their assessment of both positive
and negative aspects of measuring program outcomes, as well as their
experiences with using the findings to benefit their programs. Most
of the agencies surveyed had been implementing outcome measurement
systems for two to five years.
majority of program directors could easily identify the benefits
of engaging in outcome measurement. Respondents said that implementing
program outcome measurement helped to communicate program results
to stakeholders (88%), focus staff on working towards common goals
and shared purposes (88%), identify effective practices within the
program (84%), successfully compete for resources and funding (83%),
and improve the service delivery of the program (76%). In addition,
75% of respondents felt they had sufficient access to training on
outcome measurement, 59% said there was sufficient access to the
special expertise needed to resolve specific outcome measurement
problems, and 50% said there was adequate time to develop and test
the outcome measurement system.
program directors identified a number of benefits from engaging
in outcome measurement, the process of implementing an outcome measurement
system had an impact on staff and program activities. Respondents
said that engaging in outcome measurement had overloaded their record-keeping
capacity (55%), diverted resources from existing activities (46%),
and led to a focus on measurable outcomes at the expense of other
important results (46%). In addition, 68% said there was difficulty
identifying manageable data collection methods, 66% said there was
difficulty identifying relevant outcome indicators, 65% said there
was difficulty identifying appropriate outcomes, and 62% said there
was a concern about the cost of measuring outcomes.
these difficulties, on the whole, program directors believed the
benefits of outcome measurement outweighed the challenges; 74% of
respondents agreed that "on balance, implementing outcome measurement
has had a positive impact on this program's ability to serve clients
effectively," and 89% would recommend to the director of a
similar program that he or she consider implementing program outcome
Agency Experiences with Outcome Measurement: Survey Findings,
United Way of America, 2000.
contact United Way of America Sales Service at (703) 212-6300 (Item
#0196), or look on-line at www.unitedway.org/outcomes/.
Special Issue of Facts in Action Over the past
year, Facts in Action published a series of articles designed
to take you step-by-step through the process of measuring outcomes
in your program or family child care home. This series of articles
has been repackaged into a special issue of the Facts in Action
newsletter and is now available for only $2.00 per copy.
you would like to order this special issue of Facts in Action,
Early Education Clearinghouse
Associated Early Care and Education, Inc.
95 Berkeley Street, Suite 306
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 695-0700 x271
Facts in Action, August 2002