Community health is a struggle for many organizations. What does “health” mean, what are the dimensions we should be measuring, and how do we measure it? Can we really measure things such as how happy, impactful, and fulfilled people are, or is it just the nuts and bolts of participation?

Community metrics is a pretty over-baked topic with a million different ways of thinking about it. I take a fairly simple approach: focus on which improvements you want to see in your community, measure those things in a specific and intentional way, and respond to the data with new measures and approaches. We should then test these changes to ensure they have the desired effect. When we do this well, we are able to generate the kind of community behavior and patterns we want.

Here is a presentation I delivered recently that provides an overview of the topic and plenty of pragmatic guidance for how you put this into action:

If you can’t see the video, click here.

In it I cover areas such as tangible vs. intangible participation, how to measure active participation, the role surveys play in gathering feedback, the role of dashboards, using observed data points to measure in-person events, reputation track (and delay), and more.

I am always wanting to learn new and interesting ways to track this work, and how to do it efficiently, so be sure to share your ideas in the comments.

You may also want to see my Effective Project Management and Building Community Leaders pieces; both of which feed into community health.

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