“A metric is a meaningful measurement taken over a period of time that communicates vital information about a process or activity, leading to fact-based decisions.”
—Professional Practice Statement on Performance Measurement & Metrics, Association Forum of Chicagoland
I really like this definition of metric. It highlights our overall philosophy regarding the importance of making fact-based decisions driven by data analysis. Even if associations have a flexible solution like MemberNation that makes creating and generating reports as simple as a few clicks, they still have to decide what to measure.
Ideally, metrics will be determined based on an organization’s strategic goals and objectives. Among our customers, some of the most commonly tracked metrics are renewal rates and member engagement as reflected by the number of login’s to the membership portal and the amount of time spent there.
According to the professional practice statement the Association Forum of Chicagoland issued in 2013, characteristics of a good metric include:
- Driving appropriate action
- Being simple, understandable, logical and repeatable
- Being clearly defined
- Using data that’s economical to collect
- Showing how organizational goals and objectives are being met
To ensure that your association’s metrics meet these criteria, the organization recommends “identifying your key work processes or those processes which create the most value for the organization.”
One metric we’re particularly proud of is that most customers report spending less time on membership management processes after implementing MemberNation. It’s up to you what to measure, and you shouldn’t let inefficient data management processes hold you back. Once you determine how you want to measure performance, you need to make sure that you have the appropriate technology in place to facilitate that process.