How We Measure Success


Friends’ evaluation methods measure our impact on the health of the river and those who live, work, and recreate within its watershed. Depending on the program or activity, our assessment criteria includes the number of people reached, constituent retention rates, quality of service delivery, and/or tangible short-term and long-range impact of Friends’ work. In addition, we use participant surveys to ask deeper questions and gauge the environmental impact of our on-the-ground projects by monitoring wildlife and water quality. We assess progress in the rules governing the river and in regulatory proceedings to evaluate our public policy work. These efforts help ensure that Friends is achieving our intended outcomes and inform ongoing program development.

To better understand if our work is effective and if it reflects our organization’s purpose and values, we ask the following questions:

  • Change attitudes and behaviors regarding the river?
  • Improve public access to the Chicago River?
  • Engage a broad supportive constituency?
  • Address unique our urban challenges?
  • Enhance watershed thinking and action?

The annual evaluation of development, administrative, and program work is compared against the goals and strategies of our 2013-2018 strategic plan. Each year, Friends’ staff reviews our programs and work plans to ensure we are working effectively and strategically, and that we are good stewards of the resources contributed for this essential work.