Success is Spelled H-O-P-E

December 10 2019

Denise Belanger has been helping to define success and how to measure it for over 20 years. Recently she’s spent time with four organizations in the Catholic Health Corporation of Manitoba (CHCM) Network, helping them measure outcomes that matter- like hope.

With her extensive experience in social services research the results she’s seen in CHCM’s organizations are unique. “In all of my years doing this work, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of organizations that boosts compassion and hope in such a real, authentic way. I can honestly say, the number one priority for each organization that I’ve worked with is creating hope for the people they support. That is not always the reality for other organizations doing this work,” says Belanger.
The number one question she gets, is how do you measure hope?
When measuring hope in a person’s life, Belanger breaks it down into three categories
1. Goals – does this person have goals that will improve their life?
2. Pathways – do they have pathways to achieve these goals?
3. Motivation – do they have willpower/desire, to move ahead on these pathways?
She then puts that on a scale, for example 1-10.

“Often times, when I meet organizations they are measuring things that are a little easier to measure. For example, amount of time spent in a program, or number of participants supported. But what happens to those people after the program or service? Did the program accomplish what it set out to accomplish? By measuring hope, we can better determine the outcomes of the social or health service, not just the day to day data.”
She chose hope as a success measurement because no matter how many tools, resources or how much education you provide, a person can’t make real social change without hope. “Human beings need to know there is hope, to be motivated to make significant and sometimes difficult changes in their lives,” said Denise.

Proactive Solutions, the company that Denise works with, has been using a measurement system based on social justice for over 35 years. They evaluate services and programs to see how well they are performing at getting people out of the situation that might be difficult or dangerous, where someone may be marginalized, and into a situation that is better suited to their holistic health. For example, how is your program helping people who are experiencing poverty, get out of poverty in a sustainable, safe way?

“CHCM is a really exciting and encouraging group to be part of. The fact that they’re not necessarily driven by the bottom line but by the outcomes of the people supported by their network of organizations, it’s really special.”

Denise is looking forward helping measure outcomes for more organizations that are part of CHCM. In the New Year, we’ll be sharing outcomes from participants from the first group of organizations within CHCM that Denise has helped.
If your organization would like to be part of the social outcome measurement program, please email


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