Cisco gives the highest priority and funding consideration to proposals that clearly articulate the planned results of their efforts, and the metrics by which those results will be measured. We look for organizations using SMART metrics: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely.
Specific: Specific metrics are clear and well-defined. Both the grantee and the grantor know what is expected, and the grantor can monitor and assess actual performance against the metrics
Measurable: Progress toward metrics is monitored while work is underway. A measurable metric, tracked by the nonprofit, shows when work has been done and when a metric is achieved
Achievable: Achievable metrics ensure that everything is in place to meet the metric. If the grantee does not reach its goals, it needs to be able to explain why
Realistic: Metrics should be realistic. A metric may have a dependency, such as particular skills, access to resources (computers, tools, etc.), or access to key people and management support. Realistic metrics take these dependencies into account
Timely: Descriptions of metrics should include timelines, showing what is required, when. This may include details of delivery, stating (if relevant) where metrics are to be completed. Giving a timeline adds an appropriate sense of urgency and ensures that the metrics do not extend over an unreasonably long period
Several organizations offer support for nonprofit organizations to develop performance measurement. To learn more, visit The Center for What Works.