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Transformative Measurement

A Revolutionary Customer-First Approach for the Social Sector


Most nonprofits measure program activity, not results.

Program activity metrics might tell us how many people have come through our doors or participated in our services, but not necessarily how deeply lives have been transformed and in what ways. Similarly, money metrics might tell us if our fundraising strategies are effective but not necessarily whether people prefer our programs or services over others.

The social sector as a whole has taken its eye off the ball and settled for measures of busy-ness and bustle instead of durable transformation. This is why, despite more funding and philanthropic investment over the past 50 years on every imaginable issue, poverty indicators remain utterly unchanged.

So, how can you begin to measure transformation?

We need to start by thinking of beneficiaries as customers.

This shift upsets traditional power dynamics and helps us center customer satisfaction as a desired outcome. Then we need to adjust our measurement and evaluation processes to center customer insights.

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With routine customer feedback, you can:

Better understand your audiences

The people facing a problem are best equipped to solve it. What are they telling you about your current strategy? What adjustments can you make to help them transform their lives?

Allocate resources more incisively

Great feedback means you'll be able to see precisely which activities are transforming lives—and which activities are falling short—so you can make wise strategic decisions.

Strengthen your programs to see greater results

If you know what strategies are getting real results for your customers, you can grow your programs around proof of transformation, rather than pursuing growth for its own sake.

4 Questions You Can Begin Asking in Order to Measure Transformative Impact

  1. On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend [organization] to someone in a similar situation to you?
  2. On a scale from 0-10, how much has your time with [organization] helped you to transform your life for the better?
  3. On a scale from 0-10, how empowered do you feel to overcome barriers in your life?
  4. What improvements do you think [organization] could make?

3 ways you can apply this approach in your work today

Effective measurement is a strategic imperative that you can start implementing today. Every organization’s path to integrating measurement practices depends on its unique team and customers.

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When in doubt, measure.


Engage Your Teams

View your organization’s existing efforts through this customer-focused lens and consider incorporating these types of questions on your own.


Survey Your Customers

Leverage customer-first methodology to understand their experience with your program.


Schedule Time With Us

Stand Together Foundation’s Impact and Evaluation Team is here to support you as you explore ways to incorporate this customer-first approach in your own work.

Our Transformation Survey

Our robust customer insights survey incorporates multiple dimensions of client experience, personal transformation, and flourishing to meaningfully measure nonprofit success.

We have tested this survey with over 8,500 participants from our Catalyst Program and over 30,000 respondents from national survey panels, leading Stand Together Foundation to have the largest privately-funded survey of its nature.

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Learn to measure the true value you create for your customers and community.

If you choose to engage Stand Together Foundation on measurement, we will support you as a valued partner, integrating this customer-focused approach into your regular feedback processes.

Community First Summit

Together we can revolutionize how the social sector views and measures impact.

By collecting feedback directly from our customers and using it to refine our services and define our impact, we can set an example and lead the change we need to see.

Join our community of changemakers.