There are a variety of metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of your business. I am usually a very concrete, data driven individual, but in the past few weeks, I have been honored by the outflowing of praise from the families of the athletes that we work with at Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES). I am always preparing reports for our board of directors and donors based on concrete quantitative information. But the real impact of what we do is made clear in the words of those that we are, in fact, having an impact upon. Rather than preparing a report based on numbers, is there a way to determine the qualitative impact that your organization has upon those you serve (your customers)?
Here is a small sample of the feedback that I have received in the last month:
“Thanks once again to all of you- your hard work is very appreciated!” From a thank you card written by the family member of one of our military athletes who has also become a donor.
“You guys are extraordinary and these moments will forever change Ian’s life!!! Thank you so much!!!!!” Text message received from parent of youth athlete after participation in our weekly cycling group.
“After all these years since Korea, it is hard to think of someone like Roy as a “Wounded Warrior”, but when I see him with the rest of the guests … winter or spring … I see so much happening to him, and see the subtle changes taking place … just to let you know it is never too late to help those who survive war … whether in combat or just away from home in stressful situations … and you can, in fact, “teach an old dog new tricks” … thanks to all of you once again for all you do … I know you can’t always see the results down the road …. but they are happening, and all of us you help are appreciating your time and efforts, perhaps more than you can even guess!!! Thank-you!!” Email received from the wife of a Korean War veteran that originally attended our events as a VIP, eventually accepting the option to join our activities as a participant and serving as a powerful mentor to our other athletes.
At the end of the day, why does your business exist? Is it to sell more widgets? Or is it to solve a problem in a unique way that can truly have an impact on others’ lives? Don’t disregard the quantitative measures of impact, but don’t forget to check in with your customers and try to determine your impact in other qualitative ways. This can be both positive and negative, but can provide a good measure for how well you are achieving your mission in your customers’ eyes. For me, this feedback has given me a motivation to continue our efforts to reach out to military and civilian athletes-we really do change lives! Have you checked in with your customers lately?