In this year-long project, the Canadian CED Network and four community organizations sought ways to describe the outcomes of CED in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Each partner used a variety of measures to determine the impact of one program on a group of constituents and on the rest of the community:
They discovered that quantitative measurement is expensive and often intrusive. It may tempt an organization to attach more importance to activities that readily generate "spectacular numbers" than those whose results are less quantifiable.
On the positive side, quantitative and qualitative measures of outcomes can improve a CED initiative, especially when they are integral to its design and not added later. They strengthen our case in the eyes of policy-makers, funders, and other investors. Finally, they help constituents track their own progress and assume more responsibility in the development process.