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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Oregon Benchmarks: A Wake-up Call

A well-established, internationally-recognized, model community measurement project could lose funding and go away because the people who should be using the information have been ignoring the data. Today's headline is brought to you from the Statesman Journal reporting on the Oregon Benchmarks project, but the message resonates loudly with other communities who have been through or are potentially facing the same short-sighted decision-making under pressure of tight budget demands.

From the Statesman Journal:

Oregon has been a global leader in measuring its successes and failures. Unfortunately, too few people have been paying attention, especially in state government and the Legislature. Now the state is on the verge of ending its innovative self-grading system, known as the Oregon Benchmarks. Fortunately, there's a proposal to keep the benchmarks alive ...

Take a look at the Oregon Benchmarks here. It's a good report. It ought to be used more. It deserves better.

But if something that's been in place for 20 years is under such budgetary pressure, what level of concern are we facing in our own local communities? How are we insulating ourselves from these kinds of financial threats? What are we doing to establish the ROI of our projects? How are we diversifying our funding streams?


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