If you don’t measure, you won’t know your impact. You won’t know how that impact is changing, whether it’s expanding or retreating, whether it’s greater on Mondays or Fridays. The abundance of tools for measuring attendance and engagement has given us all a lot of work to do (I spend time each week noting down YouTube unique views, for example). Measurement is important work; someone has said, “You are what you measure.”
Measuring can’t tell you what you want to be or ought to be, though. Measuring can’t determine the impact you’re trying to make. We did Ashes on the Way this week and I chose not to count the people who received ashes throughout the day, because I couldn’t see what that number would tell us about what we were trying to achieve. Instead, I spent time observing how people were interacting with us and who was: joggers, students, police officers, restaurant workers, a British tourist with a tin of biscuits. I asked our servers what their experience was like and how it might be improved.
That’s measurement too. Qualitative measurement.