A Dashboard That Does Something

When measuring the impact of a million volunteers, what performance indicators matter most? Take a look at DoSomething.org's organizational dashboard to find out.

Web analytics. Member survey and poll results. Chapter reports. Media hits. Informal conversations. With so much data available, how can you and your volunteer leaders derive signal from the noise?

To do just that, CEO Nancy Lublin decided to create an easy-to-understand dashboard for her nonprofit, DoSomething.org, the nation's largest volunteer organization for teenagers. The dashboard spotlights three key performance indicators:

  • Reach, including online impressions (both website and social media), media impressions, and nonmedia impressions;
  • Impact, including the number of volunteer projects underway and the numbers related to the impact of those projects;
  • Management, including cash on hand and actual expense and revenue compared to budget.
  • DoSomething.org shares the dashboard with supporters, friends, staff, and other stakeholders. Lublin sees the metrics as motivation: "The board gets the overall big picture, but really it's for staff and departments," she says. "What's interesting is that it's like the staff is being held publicly accountable for what they've achieved or missed."