Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Setting Goals Improves Data

There's a great article by The Numbers Guy on How Setting Goals Can Improve Data. The article is of particular relevance to community indicators practitioners, and I urge you to read it and think about what it means to the goal-setting (or target-setting) efforts you might have associated with your indicators reports.

The point he makes is simple, and it's based on the example of the United Nations' Millenium Development Goals:

About two-thirds of the way to the target date of 2015, the world is behind pace to reach most of these goals. Yet the setting of the goals has ensured, at least, an effort to improve the data collection needed to monitor the progress.

He then outlines some of the progress made in developing stronger measures to ensure better data. The same reasoning tends to hold true in local communities: increased attention to an area of emphasis, with reporting of data and setting of communtiy goals, has in our case led to significant improvements in data-gathering and data-reporting capacities in local government.

For more information, check out what The Numbers Guy "wrote last year about measurement of another millennium goal, reducing world poverty. A U.N. Web site offers maps tracking progress toward the millennium goals, by country."


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