How do you measure the value online platforms provide? How do you justify investments? The work Stefan initiated last summer sparked discussions with our board, funders, accountants and several of our key partners.

Recently, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs challenged me to come up with a strategic monitoring framework – that can be used to measure the value we provide to our partners. I have been drawn towards using a Balanced Scorecard, on the advice of the 1%club. I tweaked the standard set-up, and ended up with a version that is based around 5 perspectives. For each of these perspectives (result areas) we are thinking of highlighting and measuring 5 Key Performance Indicators. The ones we came up with until now are in many senses ‘Akvo’ specific, but could perhaps be of wider use in this space as well.

1. Partner perspective

# partners using the platform (cumulative up to reference year), # field partners using the platform (cumulative up to ref. year), # strategic partnerships (cumulative up to ref. year), % international project partners, # partner sites (cumulative up to ref. year)

2. Project perspective

# projects online (cumulative up to ref. year), value of projects online (cumulative up to ref. year), # people that are served (cumulative up to ref. year – indirectly), # updates (cumulative up to ref. year), # updates per project (average)

3. Platform perspective

% reliable up-time, # support languages (cumulative up to ref. year), # page-views on (per month), # unique visitors on (per month), number of pages viewed (average)

4. Communication perspective

% of Akvo staff publishing communications content (blogs, photos, video, tweets, Facebook updates), # video interviews online (cumulative up to ref. year) , # blogs (cumulative up to ref. year), # participants reached during campaigns (per year), % people opening newsletter, # facebook likes (cumulative up to ref. year)

5. Financial perspective

Akvo audit – accountant, Management letter – accountant, Program specific financial and narrative report, % income from services (% self-sufficiency), % contribution grants

In the Balanced Scorecard Akvo has chosen to use a system of ‘traffic-light’ indicators, to provide a quick overview of progress in relation to targets.

The system we’ve now put together is flexible – so we would really value your feedback, particularly on smart indicators and potential bench-marks we might use. We’re planning to display the information that we collect online. Below is an example of what that could look like on in the near future.

Peter van der Linde is a co-founder and director at