GMI Connection

Building (and Measuring) a Model of Success GMI Connection - Issue 9 : Article 4

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nl9-4.jpgBuilding (and Measuring) a Model of Success

For many organizations, governing boards have an important but seemingly simple responsibility: Keep leaders accountable to fulfill the organization's mission.



Frequently, this leads to a series of questions:

  • "Have we clearly articulated what is it that we do?"
  • "Do we do it well?"
  • "How do we know that we do it well?"

William Carey International University, a non-traditional graduate school affiliated with the U.S. Center for World Mission, has been working to answer questions like these. WCIU offers affordable and portable graduate degrees in International Development for Majority World leaders and their Western counterparts working in cross-cultural NGOs.


Understanding the role of research in assessment, WCIU President Dr. Beth Snodderly approached GMI to help WCIU create a plan to assess its progress toward accomplishing its mission: to prepare men and women to discover and address the roots of human problems around the world.


WCIU has already developed several "ends" statements reflecting outcomes that would signify mission fulfillment. Two examples of these are:

  • WCIU graduates are scholar-activists who are identifying and fighting against evil in all forms, addressing macro-level problems of societies.
  • Other schools use programs of WCIU design.

GMI saw that these ends were the material that WCIU needed to begin building a Logic Model, a visual flowchart of the path from organizational resources (Inputs) to organizational activities (Outputs), and then on to the ultimate behavior of those WCIU serves and the impact they make on their organizations (Outcomes).


Through a series of phone consultations and email exchanges, GMI assisted Dr. Snodderly in drafting a Logic Model to use with her executive team and board.


"The Logic Model requires one to think through what short term, mid-term, and long term measurable outcomes would demonstrate accomplishment of the mission," Dr. Snodderly said. "These will be the basis for evaluation at the end of each term."


GMI volunteer Michael Lambert played a key role in organizing elements of WCIU's work into the model, organized by color.


"The color coding of the Logic Model was extremely helpful in graphically showing the relationship between staff activities and the desired measurable outcomes," said Dr. Snodderly.


Additionally, GMI suggested specific measures to be tracked over time, some of which may be built into WCIU's internal systems, while others may be better gathered through an occasional external survey of graduates and their organizations. Creating a proposal for such a survey was the final step in the process.


"I would not have known about logic models and how to chart the alignment of mission, services, and outcomes without the coaching and templates from GMI," Dr. Snodderly said.


While assessment can be daunting, we expect that interest in and need for well-designed evaluation services will continue to grow among the mission community. GMI is working to further develop its offerings in this field, recently gaining membership in the American Evaluation Association and attending its national conference.


If you know of a mission organization that can use a knowledgeable partner to walk alongside it through the assessment process, write GMI today—we look forward to exchanging ideas with you.


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