Establishing measures of success

Measures of success (sometimes called indicators) indicate what needs to be measured in order to assess the activity’s success. They are markers of your Community Action Plan’s progress and achievements.

There are two main categories:

  • Process measures relate to your activity processes and how it is being delivered.
    They help you to monitor whether your activity is going well or needs to be tweaked – before it’s too late. Process measures focus on activity implementation (e.g. quality, satisfaction), reach (number of target audience affected by the activity), and outputs (what is delivered). Outputs are usually described numerically, such as number of events held or number of attendees.
  • Impact and outcome measures relate to the difference your activity has made. They are used to measure short and medium-term effects (impacts) and longer-term effects (outcomes-which may be out of scope for collection within your Community Action Plan activity time-frame) of your activity. Impact and outcome measures help you to build a picture of your activity’s influence on individuals, organisations and communities. All activity should contribute to the long-term outcome of preventing alcohol and other drug harms, in line with the purpose of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Local Drug Action Team program.

Measures of success need to be determined for the key activity in your Community Action Plan. Groups are required to specify

at least two process and two impact measures for each activity. You will also need to identify the tools recommended in Section 5: Measuring success of your selected toolkit you will use to collect data for each measure. This provides a suite of process and impact success measures that relate to the toolkit activity. These provide a good starting point to developing your own Community Action Plan activity success measures


Tips for developing measures of success:

  • Try not to be over-ambitious, such as over- estimating the turnout to an event or achieving significant community change in a short period of time. This can lead to activity being assessed in ways that might not be achievable.
  • Be careful not to confuse outputs (what is delivered) with outcomes (what long-term changes are desired). Is each outcome truly an ‘outcome’?
  • Develop impact measures to answer the question: What is different as a result of our Community Action Plan's activities? It Is likely a Community Action Plan will deliver short and medium Impacts that If sustained will become an outcome.
  • Consider outcomes that may occur in the long-term at different levels including individual, organisation and community. These may be noted as longer term outcomes the Community Action Plan is working to achieve and may provide a longer-term focus for the LDAT.
  • Link the measures of success to your activity objectives.

Some example measures of success for community action to prevent alcohol and other drug-related harms are provided the table below. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s suite of toolkits contain other success measures. You may find these a useful starting point for developing your own.

Example measures of success

Community action Process measures Impact/Outcome measures
Education sessions • Number of education sessions
• Number of participants
• Number/quality of resources and materials distributed
• Partners involved in planning the sessions
• Participant satisfaction with session
• Increase in awareness, knowledge, attitudes or skills
• Change in behaviour
• Improved access to information for target audience
Partnership work • Number/range of partners involved
• Number of meetings attended
• Representation on local networks
• Number of partnership agreements established
• Whether the partnership activity went according to plan
• Partnership engagement processes
• Development and implementation of new policies and procedures
committed to preventing alcohol and drug harm (e.g. workplace, local government, partner organisation)
• The number and types of partnerships generated (and embedded)
Awareness raising • Number/quality resources and materials developed
• Number of subscribers of e-newsletters
• Number of website views
• Local/social media coverage
• Satisfaction with activity resources (e.g. messaging)
• Increase in awareness and knowledge
• Increased integration of alcohol and other drug-related issues in organisational policies and plans