Demonstrating Value offers simple management solutions that enable you to use information and data more effectively to run your organization, plan for the future and show your value to the community. Demonstrating Value combines performance monitoring with social impact evaluation in a compact and powerful communication tool.


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Among competing management and planning priorities, it is not always easy to make time for improving systems to measure and communicate organizational performance and impact.  You also need to have solid buy-in for the process from others around you, including both leadership and front-line staff.  I've worked with many different organizations over the past few years, and along the way I've gathered a few observations for how organizations can successfully move ahead.  
1.  You are already spending lots of time measuring. Be more effective. Rare is the community-based organization that is not already spending lots of...

Over the past few years, I have often heard that  ‘Vancouver is the second least affordable city in the world.’  I usually use this metric to feel sorry for myself that I didn’t buy real estate right when I moved here 20 years ago.


When people say the word "world", I usually picture this:



Apparently it’s second most expensive in a world of only 9 countries.    Last time I checked (on Google) there were 265 countries!  While the snob in me loves to be compared only to such cities as Tokyo, London and Paris, the picture actually changes a lot when other countries are brought into the equation. Jim Sutherland takes this up in an article, Vancouvers problem isn't high housing costs...

The glossy photos of software solutions are very appealing: a person smiling and relaxed while working at a computer (and not looking like they are on the verge of throwing it against a wall); screenshots that show colourful graphics and easy to read data.   

If you are caught in a slow motion nightmare of implementing a new software system like a Customer Relationship Management (or other database) that is not going according to plan you are not alone.  According to many industry analysts, a huge number of CRM projects fall short.  Some even estimate more than half fail. 

In both businesses and non-profits (and everything in between), CRMs are a mix of policies, processes and strategies used...

Some of the most challenging impacts to define and measure relate to the value of arts and culture.  While it is quite common to see output numbers like attendance and participation rates for arts and culture-related initiatives, rarely do we see measures that relate to deeper impacts.  Yet without this, cultural investments often find themselves on the short end of the stick and are traded off in favour of competing investments.  


So what do we know about the role of arts and culture in creating social value?

The Urban Institute undertook an Arts and Culture Indicators Project over many years to look into this question.  The first publication in the series, Culture counts in communities: A framework for measurement...

Numbers do not speak for themselves.  They need help.  It often seems that the journey to develop a number can be so long that by the time we have finally defined, collected and analyzed an indicator, we often just release them into space with little regard to context and narrative to help others understand their meaning.  



Take this figure for instance:  It cost 2.3 billion dollars to run federal prisons in Canada in 2012.  I know billions is a lot, but what does it really mean?  Is this more or less than last year?  How is this relative to other places?  

The Toronto Sun gives more help along with a little spin to make the taxpayer wake up and take note: “Canadians taxpayers dished out an average of $113,974 to lodge an inmate in a federal prison last year - a 30% increase from four years...

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