Seven Measures of Success: How Do You Measure?

board development and revitalization oversight and accountability: measurement roles and responsibilities strategic planning and policy development the board/ceo partnership Jan 17, 2022
Seven Measures of Success How Do You Measure?


What are your organization’s measures?  


The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) first published their all-time bestseller 7 Measures of Success in 2006 and then updated it a few years ago. The book focuses on the criteria that define remarkable associations – and most not-for-profits for that matter.

Based on 15 years of data and original, objective research tailored to the association community's needs 7 Measures of Success provides empirical data and seven success factors common among visionary non-profits.

Turn your organization from ordinary to extraordinary and discover how to

  • inspire a customer service-oriented culture
  • align products and services with your mission
  • process feedback from members and use the data to deliver results
  • take actions that position your organization to adapt quickly

Without question, this is a must-read book for all levels of association professionals.

There are their seven measures, stated below with a few comments and observations by me.


Commitment to Purpose

  1. A Customer Service Culture— “We’re here to serve you.” How do you measure customer service and satisfaction?
  2. Alignment of Products and Services with Mission—And what is your mission? What are the products and services? Do they have value and utility?


Commitment to Analysis and Feedback

  1. Data-Driven Strategies—Remarkable organizations gather information and share and analyze data to deduce what actions the data point to taking.
  2. Dialogue and engagement—An internal conversation continually occurs among Board, senior staff and internally with staff and volunteers about the organization’s direction and priorities. How are staff and volunteers appropriately and effectively integrated in association operations?
  3. CEO as a Broker of Ideas—The executive director facilitates visionary thinking throughout the organization. The executive director leads the board as a constructive partner – the co-pilot so to speak.


Commitment to Action

  1. Organizational Adaptability—Remarkable organizations are willing to change, but they also know what not to change. It does not require a five-year committee investigation.
  2. Alliance Building—Not-for-profit organizations that are secure and confident seek partners and projects that complement their mission and purpose. Alliances and partnerships are focused, formal, mutually beneficial relationships.


Now, about measures 


Remarkable organizations know their measures and collect data to ensure that these seven factors are top of mind in leadership, culture and service delivery. What are your organization’s measures?  


Are they the foundation of common agreements around the table? 

Are they clearly aligned with your mission? And moving it forward? 

Are they written and reviewed at least annually? 

How is the data collected and used? 


Embarking on an objective measurement program requires a commitment to: 

invest the time, money, and effort required to do measurement properly. 

communicate the results broadly and with candor. 

foster change in the areas identified as problematic by the research. 


Think about your Executive Director here. 


They know the target audiences. They know the percent of market share that they hold (memberships, card holders, participation by postal code, program attendance). 

They know their revenue streams, the landscape for the stability of those streams, alternate means of service delivery, cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses. 

They know their products and services and how to monitor and adjust (just look at the changes in what you do and how in the past three years). 

They know how to do the research to develop programs, products and services that resonate and that attract people and dollars. 


Shouldn’t we expect to have that dialogue with our executive director to understand better our operations without getting involved in implementation of board policy? 


Shouldn’t board members get out of the way, stop mucking about in operations and set strategic directions and hold people accountable? 


Start with the end in mind… 


What are your main “pain points” dealing with measures of success? 

What advice would be most helpful to you? 
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend! 


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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