Track Toward Strategic Goals

Like other nonprofits, Mission Capital is working hard to ensure that our current strategic plan serves to guide our daily work and is fully integrated into our day-to-day operations. In a previous post, we offered ideas for how to make your plan part of the day-to-day fabric organization, and not simply a document that sits on the shelf gathering dust.

In order to thoughtfully work toward strategic goals, we’ve created a system to regularly track, analyze and report on key strategic plan metrics. Here’s what we learned:

Develop and refine key metrics

During Mission Capital’s strategic planning process, board and staff leadership developed initial key metrics for each of the 5 “goal areas” in our plan. We then worked with program staff to continue to refine the metrics to ensure they were relevant and meaningful and aligned to organizational priorities.

Create a reporting schedule

We next developed a reporting schedule to clarify how often and when departments would report their data up to staff and board leadership. While departments are collecting data on a regular basis, we wanted to be thoughtful about how often these metrics would need to be rolled up and reported out at a higher level.

We report program-level data at three key points during the year (financial data is collected and reported monthly). We created a calendar, with data for each goal area being reported out on a rotating basis. For example, Goal A metrics are shared in January & June, Goal B data in February and August, etc. In addition, at the end of the fiscal year, data is collected for the Mission Capital Annual report. You can download our Reporting Calendar Template for free in the resource library.

Clarify where and how data will be collected

Next, we set up individual meetings with departments in order to review the metrics and calendar and ensure buy-in from staff. We also clarified the methodology around how specific data would be collected and reported, since the devil is always in the details. Staff roles and responsibilities related to data collection efforts were also discussed.

Share information in easily accessible formats

Once the metrics were gathered for a specific goal area, we created two documents in order to share the data in an easily accessible format:

  • Internal Scorecard: Our scorecard includes a list of all the metrics for a specific goal area, compiled in a single Excel spreadsheet. We have color coded the metrics (green=celebrate, yellow=watch, red=act now) to provide a visual display of how we are doing in reaching our goals.
  • Performance Dashboard: The dashboard includes the most critical data points from the scorecard. Because this document is shared with the Mission Capital Board of Directors, we also include a number of graphs and data visualizations in order to make the data points as clear and easy to interpret as possible.

Review data regularly

Once a scorecard is complete, it is shared with the staff leadership team. The Board also regularly reviews both the strategic plan area dashboard, as well as the financial metrics. Board and staff then use this data to review progress toward our organizational goals. The scorecard and dashboard certainly doesn’t tell the whole story, but serves as a helpful starting point for generating discussions about what is working well, and may need to be tweaked or changed to improve outcomes. Ultimately, we come away with a better way to use what we’ve learned from the data to continue to strengthen our organization in order to better serve this community.

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