This is my piece that was included in the Knoco spring newsletter, which can be accessed here: https://www.knoco.com/Knoco%20newsletter%20spring%2011.pdf
When a community program has been running for 1-2 years it is important to perform a health check on the individual communities and the program as a whole. Performing this type of review ensures that the individual communities and the program are both providing value to the participants and the organization.
Examples of metrics that assess the health of individual communities include calculations for number of problems solved by the community and related income increases or expense decreases. There are also usefulness surveys where users evaluate how useful the community has been in helping them accomplish their objectives. These surveys can include anecdotes from users describing (in quantitative terms) how the community has contributed to organizational objectives. The metrics used may change over time and may be customized for the length of time a community has been in operation.
Overall community metrics may take an aggregate of the individual community metrics, but there may also be calculations for the overall impact of the community program. Such things as decreases to learning curves, increases to customer satisfaction, reductions in rework, increases in innovation or decreases in attrition rates.
Collecting these types of metrics on an annual basis helps to remind staff of the value of the community program and ensure that it continues to add value to the organization.