Developing Indicators

Theory of ChangeThe Indicators stage is when details are added to the change framework. This stage focuses on how to measure the implementation and effectiveness of the initiative. By collecting data on each outcome, the initiative can identify what it is or isn’t happening and find out why.
Each indicator has four parts: population, target, threshold and timeline. But you can forget the jargon. Simply put, for each indicator you want to ask:
Who is changing? (women enrolled in the program)
How many do we expect will succeed? (perhaps 90% of the enrolled women)
How much is good enough? (a $12 per hour job for at least six months?)
By when does this outcome need to happen? (perhaps within two months of graduation)

  • Indicator is the actual variable being measured, such as average test scores or proficiency in a particular skill.
  • Population is the group that you are measuring, such as a program’s clients.
  • Threshold represents the minimum for the outcome to be successfully achieved. (E.g. the threshold for a successful election between two candidates is 51% of the vote; if there were three or more candidates, the threshold would be lower, because only a majority of the votes would be required to be successful.)

Here are some sample indicators for Project Superwomen:

Outcome 1: Long-term employment at a livable wage for domestic violence survivors
Indicator : Employment
Population: Program graduates
Threshold: Remain in job at least 6 months and earn at least $12 per hour
Outcome 2: Survivors have marketable skills in non-traditional jobs
Indicator : Skill in electrical, plumbing carpentry or building maintenance
Population: Program participants
Threshold: Successfully complete internship
Outcome 2: Survivors have marketable skills in non-traditional jobs
Indicator : Program graduation
Population: Program participants
Threshold: Do graduate (yes/no)
Outcome 3: Women attend training classes in non-traditional skills
Indicator : Attendance
Population: Program participants
Threshold: Women miss no more than three classes