Program metrics and the halo effect

For a number of years, my colleagues have struggled with selecting measurements that can serve as true indicators of program success.  And here’s why – we interact with people individually and sometimes personal interaction creates a halo effect that yields unanticipated, happy results for philanthropy.


I read yet another article recently on Linked-In about why our business analysis falls short of expectations.  The 5 reasons listed were exactly what I’d expect to see.  One of the reasons specifically stated that we fail to select the correct metrics that will actually deliver the insight needed to review our progress or success.

In our sector, we trip over this obstacle time and time again.  We get distracted by wonderful halo effect outliers and try to measure them as a substitute for true program goals.

Don’t misunderstand – I’m not against measuring results of any kind.  Where we get trapped however, is when we place more emphasis on tracking halo effect measurements than the original program measurements.  As humans, we get incredibly enthused when something completely unexpected and wonderful happens.  And rightfully so.  Let’s just not forget to measure the outcomes of the objectives we’re attempting to achieve.


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