#111: Milestones and Mountains Left to Climb

The leader of a former grantee organization I used to work with in Rwanda asked me last month:

Since you started [how-matters.org], can you see any impact around advocated issues? Any results to share?”

It’s only fair. I’m sure I asked this of local organizations like hers too many times to count.

So today, since I missed the milestone of my 100th post, I share and celebrate the 111th post on how-matters.org!

But of course, that’s just an output result.

Over 22,000 visitors to my site over the past year. Over 4,000 visits per month these days. Posts averaging more than five comments each (not counting discussions on LinkedIn and online communities). 466 Facebook friends. 1,700+ Twitter followers. 299 Huffington Post fans who apparently like my comments. Output. Output. Output.

But what about the outcomes?

I observe that how-matters.org is steadily building in terms of its reach, relevance, and influence. To encourage aid workers and grassroots leaders to work together to make funding mechanisms more responsive to local efforts however, well, that will not only require a change in policies and procedures, but in the hearts and minds of those with power in the system. And as we well know, these are the intangible results that are difficult to measure and monitor.

Um-hm, where have I heard this before?

I can share that I am being invited to publish on other sites, most recently The Broker Online, and I had an article published in InterAction’s Monday Developments August newsletter. How-matters.org is a featured "development blog" on zunia.org, a development information/knowledge exchange site and I was also invited to co-organize and facilitate a panel at the World Bank’s annual meetings this past spring.

These are some of the “headline” accomplishments of the past year that may point to outcomes, that is, if they had been identified in the blog’s planning. Oops!

For me, the real accomplishments, however, are the gratifying connections I’ve made with like- and not-so-like-minded people and organizations and the expansive work I’ve found. (You can check out my consultancy services here.) And yes, I am currently searching for a job and an organizational home. (Check out my LinkedIn profile here too!)

In the meantime, the blog and its vision continue to grow and I commit to keep going with my cumulative budget of US$0. I am relocating to the Washington D.C. area for the next couple of months to explore some opportunities and will soon be recruiting an (obviously unpaid) intern. Guest bloggers are always, always welcome! To learn more about either opportunity, contact me at: email.howmatters@gmail.com.

How-matters.org was born at a time in my career when re-organization and re-focus was not only necessary, but required of me. When I started, I thought it was due to the specific time and circumstances of my life. What I’ve found is that we are always redefining ourselves. In the moments that I have been most flooded with self-doubt and thoughts of “Is any of this worth it?”, the readers of how-matters.org have followed, commented, liked and shared. My voice has been strengthened by your willingness to listen.

So my most important message to how-matters.org’s followers and readers on its 111th post?

Thank you for making how-matters.org matter!

***

Top 10 Most Popular Posts on how-matters.org

  1. Online Communities Related to International Aid and Development (added as permanent page, updated regularly)
  2. Small is Beautiful…Grants, That Is (Part 2)
  3. What’s missing from the DIY aid debate? Overlooking the Capacity of...
  4. Pity, Pictures and Poverty (guest post by Duncan McNicholl at Water Wellness)
  5. Hillary, Stoves Won’t Save the World
  6. Listening to People on the Receiving End of Aid (sharing initial findings from The Listening Project)
  7. If I had only known…
  8. Aid, Africa, Corruption and Colonialism: An Honest Conversation
  9. Sorry but it’s not YOUR project
  10. 161 Indicators, and then what?
  11. and Would YOU fund this organization? gets an honorable mention for the most comments.

Any other faves? Be sure to tell me about the posts that stick in your mind in the comments section.

What would you like to see on how-matters.org? Please do share any feedback or ideas for how-matters.org’s next steps!

About the Succulent Icon: Why do I love succulents? These vastly diverse species of plants grow in inter-related and repeating patterns in some of the harshest and most beautiful places in the world. They are resilient, self-reliant, and adaptive to changing environmental conditions. Simply put, they are survivors.

***

This post originally appeared at: http://www.how-matters.org/2011/10/16/milestones-and-mountains/

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