What is an indicator?
If we want to track intended changes resulting from our projects, we will need indicators.
Indicators are specific and concrete pieces of information that enable us to track the changes that we are trying to achieve.
We can use indicators to measure objectively and reliably assess change.
Where do indicators come from?
Indicators can be widely recognised (e.g. Sustainable Development Goals) or unique to your project. They can be prescribed by donors, created by project participants (what is meaningful and useful to them?) or developed by project staff to help measure the project against objectives, gauge progress or otherwise improve internally.
Characteristics of a good indicator
Indicators should be relevant, specific (and where possible measurable) and timetabled to be gathered at key time points in the project.
An indicator should:
- Count or describe a change within ’the system’ of your project.
- Be relevant to what your project is doing or trying to achieve.
- Be specific (not vague).
- If possible, be measurable.
- Mention key timepoints where data is to be gathered.
- It may also need baseline data (before project started) to compare to.