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S.M.A.R.T goals are all the rage.  They appear everywhere, and are particularly loved in funding application forms and by strategic planning facilitators.   According to S.M.A.R.T, goals should be: S – specific ;  M – measurable; A - achievable; R – relevant and T - timely. (There is some variations as to the words that make up the acronym.) 


Goal setting is useful.  I am all for not having goals that are fluffy and too high level to be meaningful.  S.M.A.R.T is a useful (and catchy!) guideline for grounding goals in reality.   Sometimes though I think we go too far in setting out goals as a performance measures, rather than separating out the two, particularly when S.M.A.R.T is applied to community impact goals. 


Should we go for S.A.R.T. goals instead of S.M.A.R.T?    This is definitely...

Measuring quality of life is a HUGE area and is increasingly being done to understand the key outcomes of many programs, particularly in social services, health care, community development and education. This is great!  Interest in measuring quality of life gets to the core of what measurement should be about - measuring what matters - rather than sticking with what is easy and not particularly important. As Albert Einstein (may have) said: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”


Quality of Life is a concept that is closely related, and sometimes used interchangeably with others - life satisfaction, happiness, well-being.  Interestingly we are coming to quality of life and well being measurement from many different directions:

  1.  The ...

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...

A new project is underway that will investigate the collective impacts of social enterprises in Vancouver that are providing employment and training opportunities for people who are marginalized.  Demonstrating Value's Community Partner, the Vancity Community Foundation, is leading the project with funding support from Central City Foundation, Vancity Savings Credit Union, and the Vancouver Foundation..

The project seeks to:

  • gather evidence about health and community development outcomes;
  • develop a monetized estimate of impact; and
  • develop insights into how social enterprises can enhance/and scale their impact.

A goal of this project is to increase legitimacy and policy support for social enterprise as a tool for community development.

This project will employ mixed research methods to investigate impact with the objective of bridging shared measurement methods in evaluation that...

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