Why We Measure Success
We measure the results of our work to inform strategy, improve what we do, and ultimately, to impact more people’s lives. That’s why we align with grantees on what progress is expected, how it will be measured, and what results will be reported. We also use formal evaluations to collect rigorous evidence on what works and what doesn’t, and help guide the investments, policies and practices of other stakeholders in the field. With these signals of progress, we have actionable information to make adjustments and decisions that bring us closer to achieving ambitious goals.
Three key purposes drive our measurement efforts:
Track our Progress: We hold ourselves accountable for what we do and how we do it by measuring inputs, activities, and outputs of our own work and the work of our grantees and partners.
Inform our Strategies: We test our assumptions and track achievements by measuring outcomes and impacts, and by understanding how and why we have succeeded or failed. Outcomes are the intermediate, intended or achieved changes in technologies, systems, populations or behaviors; impacts are the ultimate, sustainable changes we seek.
Contribute to the Field: We contribute to accomplishing shared goals by making sure information is appropriately timed to inform strategy and collective efforts in the field. We work closely with our grantees and partners to understand whether joint efforts have resulted in positive changes for the populations we serve, and how these changes have been achieved.
We Seek Continuous Improvement
We seek to measure, to learn, and to improve at every step along the way. We are disciplined, because we want to maximize the effectiveness of our efforts, and learn from the results of our partners and grantees.
The collection and analysis of data and experience are critical first steps toward informed action and decision making. But these alone are not sufficient for action. Measuring progress and impact is only useful if you’re willing to act on the results. Our philosophy and approach emphasize measurement for a specific purpose or action. We recognize that the most elegant evaluation is only meaningful if its findings are used to inform decisions and strengthen our work to improve people’s lives.
We are in the process of defining our approach to evaluation, including the way we make decisions about when to evaluate and how. As we continue to strengthen the foundation’s approach to measurement and evaluation, we will share this evaluation policy with our grantees and partners in a spirit of transparency and partnership. Look for this space to evolve.