Shared Measurement and the Calgary Homeless Foundation

Uniting Cross-Sector Actors to End Homelessness in Calgary

In a recent blog post, Learning How to Measure Impact Together, we discussed shared measurement – a growing area of impact measurement that realistically considers that multiple organizations contribute to the same desired community impact. Shared measurement also recognizes that tracking outcomes collectively is smarter and more economic than having every organization prove its impact as if they existed in isolation.

In a recent webinar held by FSG, a US-based non-profit consulting firm, an example of shared measurement systems is presented with a profile of the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). In his discussion of Designing and Developing Shared Metrics, President and CEO of the CHF Tim Ritcher demonstrates how shared measurement allowed stakeholders to conceptualize and structure a system to more effectively move towards ending homelessness in Calgary. Throughout the development of the Homeless Management Information System, CHF’s shared measurement system, a highly inclusive process was used.

What can we learn from CHF’s experience? In the creation of the Homeless Management Information System, several key learnings for developing shared metrics emerged:

Systems Focus and Alignment – The shared measurement process led to rethinking of plan implementation and helped structure the system.

Community Engagement – Collaborative, transparent, consistent community engagement was critical and led to strong uptake.

Access to All – Made technology, training and cost accessible to all – equitable between big and small agencies.

Technology is Secondary – When designing a system, the technology is secondary to the process of developing shared measures.

Moving Beyond Privacy Concerns – Privacy concerns seemed to mask agency worry over scrutiny.

Source: FSG Interviews and Analysis (Collective Impact: Implementing Shared Measurement, slide 12)

Shared measurement is one of the many ways that you can enhance your organization’s ability to track and express success, harnessing the value of collaboration and common goals between stakeholders in your community and beyond. In the end, it allows you to collectively make an impact and solve complex issues – makes a lot of sense, wouldn’t you say?

For more information on collective impact, including articles, webinars, presentations, and related resources, visit the FSG website.

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