That’s the most important question to ask if you’re thinking about creating a dashboard to track your organization’s performance.
It’s also the most difficult question to answer. It forces you to identify not only what success looks like at your organization, but also how to capture that in a relatively simple way for your staff, board, and other dashboard users.
The financial experts at Fiscal Management Associates recommend that you assemble a team of staff knowledgeable about a range of operations — not just finance, but human capital, programs/services delivery, fundraising, marketing and communications, risk management, IT, and any other relevant areas.
Try to select no more than 10 total data points for your dashboard. You can whittle them down by carefully thinking through factors like:
- Whether your selected metrics reflect your organization’s current goals
- How helpful they will be to the dashboard’s end users
- How reliable/objective the metrics’ data sources are
- Whether you have relevant and accessible past data for everything you’re tracking so that you can identify trends and gauge progress
- Who will update the different data streams, how often, and how much time it will take