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Measuring Program Effectiveness

By Kristen Olszewski, Account Executive

There's no question that the recession has taken its toll on large corporations, small businesses, and associations. Measuring program effectiveness can be a tough task for both associations and their members. Lower memberships and reduced attendance at conferences may seem troublesome, but they aren't always a clear sign of an ineffective program, it might just be a sign of the tough economic times.

The first step in measuring effectiveness is to define what "effectiveness" means to your organization. Instead of effectiveness, you may want to use the word "value" instead. If your members arenít engaged in the associationís programming it's usually because they don't perceive any direct value to them or their company.

Here are a few simple metrics to assist in gauging your programs' effectiveness/value:

  • Analyze and compare industry leading strategies and outline those that have been successful in other cases (why reinvent the wheel).
  • Ensure that every program has a clear objective that can be easily articulated.
  • Make certain that every objective is measurable. The key test is: if your program succeeds (or fails), how will you know?
  • Use external referees for objectivity and credibility (ask your members what they want, give it to them, and then ask them if it was of value).
  • Plan your resources wisely. When you set a goal, ask yourself under what conditions it is achievable; that will tell you what resources you will require in order to successfully implement a program.

Using these guidelines will allow you to make the best choices as you put together programming for the year. Measuring program effectiveness should be an ongoing practice. Whether the program has been presented and well received for many years or is new this year, take the time to evaluate it.