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Measuring the Performance and Impact of Community Indicators Systems: Insights on frameworks and examples of key performance indicators Report


Prepared by Bobbie Macdonald, Christa Rust, Charles Thrift and Darren Swanson

Year: June 2012

Keywords: impact, KPI

Access via /system/publication_pdfs/93/original/measuring_performance_communtiy_indicators.pdf?1420517181 (Size: 523.1 KB)

Associated Project(s): Peg: Tracking Well-Being in Winnipeg


Community indicator systems (CISs) are growing in number across North America, Europe, and Australia in an effort to improve evidence-based decision making in government, businesses, and civil society. By providing open access to data and information on community well-being, CISs generally aim to build the knowledge and capacity of communities to work together to improve wellbeing. However, there is currently a dearth of research on the extent to which CISs are achieving positive impacts on community well-being. Similarly, the research on monitoring and evaluation (M&E)systems and best practices of CISs is limited. Hence, CISs currently have few resources to which they can turn to design and improve upon their evaluative practices and overall program performance.

This exploratory study addresses this research gap on the M&E practices and procedures in use by CISs, asking: What key performance indicators are CISs using to measure program outcomes and impacts on the community? Key performance indicators (KPIs) are qualitative or quantitative measures that assess the performance, progress, and impact of a project, program or organization. In relation to CISs, KPIs provide the data and information with which to answer questions such as: Is the CIS performing well in relation to its goals and objectives? Is the CIS improving over time? Are people in the community receiving and using information provided by the CIS? and Are the resources devoted to the CIS actually leading to a positive impact on community well-being?

Although this study was initiated with the original intent of informing the development of an M&E system for “Peg”—a CIS for Winnipeg championed by the United Way of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (see Box 1)—our findings are intended to serve as a public resource that CISs can use to plan, implement,and improve upon existing or prospective M&E systems. Hence, the purpose of this paper is twofold: (1) to disseminate our findings on the KPIs currently in use among a sample of CISs; and (2) to stimulate discussion and subsequent research on existing M&E systems in use by CISs and on the value of evaluation and KPIs for the growing number of CISs around the world.




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