“Well, we have always done it this way.”
It is an oft-repeated and ultimately unhelpful phrase that we have all heard more than once in our careers. For all organizations, but particularly faith-based organizations, it is easy to get caught in the cycle of retaining the status quo. However, keeping pace with change is critical to keeping your organization financially strong and sustainable, and relevant information on the key performance indicators is essential to identifying and adapting to that change.
So, what performance indicators will measure mission impact and financial strength?
We tend to use proxies that are easier to capture but may not be the best indicator of financial health. How do you measure if the community is being transformed by the love of Jesus? How does an organization gauge whether or not it is creating and sustaining an inclusive and engaged community? What is the metric used to measure the success of cultivating Christ-honoring transformation in communities where He is yet to be worshiped? Traditional measures and KPIs don’t always capture the full impact of faith-based organizations.
While donor retention and attendance are easier measures, they don’t give us insight into the bigger picture. Consider ways to measure how many visitors return and become involved in the church. What about comparing the neighborhood demographics to the demographics of the church? How can we reach out to underserved populations?
The building is often a significant investment so how do we measure this investment’s impact on the mission? Consider metrics to measure building usage. Is the building used for community activities or other nonprofits’ programming?
The board, committees, and staff can be great resources for this process, and a great place to start is simply asking the right questions. Asking questions that facilitate a dynamic discussion will not only inspire great ideas but will also increase engagement. When providing reports to these stakeholders be sure to include questions such as, “What would be some suggestions for engaging our neighbors,” or “How can we determine if transformation is happening?”
Evaluating your current metrics and engaging your staff in dynamic discussion is just the first step towards identifying and adapting to change.
For a deeper look into the Metrics that Matter to your organization, join us on January 20th for the return of Faith In Numbers! In a post-pandemic world, many of the financial and operational reporting standards of the past are no longer effective measures of your organization’s success. In the session, Metrics that Matter, Melodi Bunting, CPA, CGMA, and Hannah Lanser, CPA will guide you through the importance of reporting that impacts decision-making and future planning. Learn more about the conference here!