Five Good Ideas

Mapping Progress, with a Purpose

Published on 18/04/2012

Measuring our progress in achieving our goals and fulfilling our mission is more important than ever. In a world of economic volatility, government constraint and increasing transparency, funders and their grantees need more effective ways to demonstrate their individual and collective impact to a broadening array of interested stakeholders. Blair shared the steps the Ontario Trillium Foundation took to re-invent how they measure the impact of their granting, what they measure, and why. Through a focus on balancing accountability with an action learning agenda, using mixed measurement methods, increasing engagement with grantees, staff and volunteers, and experimentation, you, too, can improve how you map your progress towards achieving your organization’s mission.

(Please note: we had a technical problem in the last 4 minutes of Blair’s presentation, which affected the audio. You can still hear his presentation clearly (thanks for a great presentation voice, Blair!), but you will detect a difference in the quality. Thanks for understanding!)

Download the presentation slides (PDF).

Five Good Ideas

  1. Map to the why: measuring progress is mission critical.
  2. From accountability to action learning: thinking “if…, then….”
  3. Ask the right questions.
  4. Make what you measure work for you.
  5. In our world of networks, engage.

Five Good Resources

    Jim Collins, “Good to Great for the Social Sectors;” Grantcraft, “Mapping Change.”

    Charting Impact, “The 5 Questions;” Social Asset Measurements “Non-Profit and Charitable Solutions.”

    Grantcraft, “Making Measures Work for You;” Center for Effective Philanthropy, “Foundation Performance Assessment Framework.”

    Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement: “Resource Library;” Innovation Network: “Point K Learning Center;” Grantmakers for Effective Organizations: “Do Nothing About Me Without Me.”

Blair Dimock

Vice President, Strategy and Partnerships

Blair helps lead the development and implementation of overall strategy, planning, performance measurement, and strategic partnerships for the Foundation. Blair’s responsibilities include overseeing the Foundation’s research and evaluation activities, ensuring effective knowledge transfer within and outside OTF, and support for data-driven and evidence-based strategic investments through the Foundation’s Province-Wide program, the Future Fund and the Youth Opportunities Fund.

Blair joined OTF in 2006 as Director of Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Management. Prior to joining the Foundation, Blair was Director of Strategic Planning and Research at TVOntario, where he also led the agency’s first New Media division and its Regulatory Affairs department. Earlier in his career, Blair served as Research and Partnership Coordinator with the Ontario Premier’s Council, where he coordinated a provincial Task Force on Lifelong Learning. Blair began his career as a Lecturer in International Politics at Trent University, where he was nominated for the Trent Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Blair currently sits on the Toronto Vital Signs Advisory Committee and the Steering Committee on Not-for-Profit Research at the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation. Blair has also served on the Advisory Committee of the Centre for Effective Philanthropy, the Research and Policy Committee of the Learning Partnership, and the Steering Committee of OISE’s Centre for the Study of Education and Work. An active community member, Blair volunteers as a certified coach and hockey school instructor with the East York Hockey Association as well as the Public Skating and Bike Works programs at Evergreen Brickworks.