Success Measures assists community-focused organizations with training, planning and technology to carry out evaluations that incorporate stakeholder input and inform changes to serve the organization’s goals. Their approach helps organizations and their beneficiaries focus on what success means to them and how to track and reach their desired outcomes. A Heron investee, Success Measures was developed by over 300 community development specialists and currently operates as a social enterprise at NeighborWorks America. In this video, the enterprise’s Maggie Grieve shares how a combination of enterprise capital grants and an investment of retained earnings are being used to help the organization scale and strengthen for long-term success. Her colleague,Brooke Finn, highlights a case example where a community development organization learned that, contrary to their operating assumptions, long-term renters were the people most actively engaged in serving and improving their neighborhood. This led the organization to reconsider their existing approach of building home ownership.
One of the things that motivates me about Success Measures is that it really puts measurement in the hands of the people doing work on the ground. It’s not a third party that comes in and says, “Let me tell you what you’re doing right and wrong.” It really allows local organizations and their constituents to frame, "What is it that really matters to us? What are we really trying to accomplish?"… It sounds so trite and simple, but I think just asking people to question assumptions can be transformative. Asking why, asking why not, really forcing individuals, organizations, and systems to question the way it’s been done, to sort of understand what the assumptions behind this are, and are those actually true? And listening honestly for how they can do a better job. Those are very feasible things that we all can do in our own lives and our own organizations.
Check out more from thought leaders in impact investing and philanthropy in our Influencer Series. This video was shot during a retreat for some of Heron’s investees in 2014.
This post was prepared by Nada Kittenah and Robert Ryan Halas.