Community Empowerment Research

We help churches, schools, and community organizations
measure needs of the people they serve,
set strategies to meet those needs, and
assess the impact of their work in service, training, evangelism, and outreach.

Home Services About Us
Community Agencies
Do Better at Doing Good
Demonstrate Accountability
Are You Making a Difference?
Measure What Matters
Making a Difference
About Us

Measure What Matters

Someone has said that what you measure is what becomes important.

You start to focus only on what you have clear and ready numbers on.

Are you focusing on what is most important or just what is easiest to count?

When serving people we need to focus on—and measure—only what is important.

Service agencies and other community ministries almost always count "numbers": number of attendees, number of graduates, number served by services type, number at summer camp, and on and on.

But what is most important?  Is attendance more important than personal growth? Organizations always know attendance, but do they know how well their clients are growing?  If clients return, is the agency serving a need … or failing?  If clients do not return is that because their needs were met … or because they were not met?

Since we focus on what we measure, we focus more on getting people in the door than preparing them to go out into the world.

Christian ministries and other service agencies need accurate ways to measure an assortment of important indicators.

We need to know what people in our community really need.

How can we find people's real needs, real knowledge, and real attitudes?

How can we empower people in our community to overcome their challenges and to succeed in life?

For ministries and community agencies that serve the needs of people: do we know the full impact we have had on those people?

We count the number served, but there is more to effective ministry than numbers.

  Are we meeting the people's needs and doing it cost-effectively?

  Are we causing any unexpected harm?

  Are there any unexpected benefits?

  Do we know if we have changed the situation that caused their need so others don't have the same needs later?  Maybe we're busy stocking and manning a food closet when the people really need help with housing or medical needs.

How can we evaluate the impact we have?

How can we become more effective at meeting spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional needs of members and neighbors?

The answer to some of these questions involves knowing how to design a good research study.  Simply asking a few clients what they need will not give a true picture of the community's needs.  Similarly, a survey of a few active members will not give you an inventory of the spiritual state of newer or less-active members.

Knowledge of scientific research principals is needed.

Community Empowerment Research brings a strong knowledge of scientific research principals to bare on making community programs as good as possible.

There are good ways to ask questions and poor ways to ask them.

You would not diagnose your own cancer—you'd go to a specialist.

If sued in court, you would not make your own case, you would use a trained lawyer.

So why use "do-it-yourself" methods to research the needs, beliefs, actions, and effectiveness of your church and community programs?

Use a specialist with training and experience.

To answer some questions you need good measures of knowledge and action.  Other questions need answers based on good measures of attitudes.  It is easy to try to measure attitudes.  It is not easy to measure them well.  Poorly measured attitudes have little or no relationship to behavior.

Measure their growth (beliefs) poorly and you will still know little about them--though you may mistakenly think you do.  And your efforts to help them grow may be ineffective.

Thus our motto: "Measure What Matters".  Together we can carefully decide what is important and find quality ways to accurately measure that. 

Then we can work on what to do to do good better.