This question has been on my mind for a long time, especially in the past few months: How do we (Chicago Rises) know we are making a difference?

Measuring success and impact is a universal need, from businesses to nonprofits to people in their daily lives. In some cases, we can “feel” the positive impact we are making. But in other cases, it can be difficult to assess how our actions are making a difference.

We at Chicago Rises can regularly check how many followers we have on our social media accounts or use Google Analytics to see how many visitors interact with our website. But does this really measure impact? I would say emphatically no. In many instances since Chicago Rises’ inception, our team members have been approached by people telling us it’s great that we’re highlighting all these positive people and stories in Chicago. Or that we need more positive things like Chicago Rises in our world. Besides making us feel proud of our work, these comments help confirm that we are providing content that is of value to others.

Now we want to dig deeper. How can we know if a story that one of our talented writers or videographers shared made a difference? Did a story inspire someone to make a donation to a cause they care about, or sign up to volunteer for a local nonprofit? Or did a story help someone better understand a group of people or a social issue better and thus increased their compassion toward others? One way I plan to find better ways to measure our impact is to consult with the incredible leaders already doing good in Chicago to learn from them how they measure success. In addition, it would be amazing to hear from you directly on how you took action or were impacted by our stories.

Why do we want to know this information? One, this feedback can help us make Chicago Rises even better to serve its citizens and communities. Secondly, it will help fuel one of our main goals, which is to have each of you inspire others to take initiative. So please take the time and share. Doing so will start a chain reaction. We can’t wait to hear YOUR story.