Almost two years ago, I began the process of building an Impact Tracker at The Center for Investigative Reporting to help us better understand the results of our work. Flash forward to today, and we have a custom-built platform that is being used by more than 20 organizations around the world.

Today, we are releasing an open-source version, available to any organization.

Our Impact Tracker is the result of a design process that put newsroom staff, their needs and their workflows at the center of impact measurement and analysis. The Impact Tracker is designed to replace the ad hoc methods that all of us use with a streamlined way to track the long tails of our work.

The data entry method – a web form – takes about 15 seconds to fill out, quicker than writing and sending an email. The Impact Log database is simple, intuitive and easily sorted and filtered, and it includes an interactive timeline to visualize impact over time.

Because the tracker is open source, you can contribute to the source code and make changes that benefit everyone. If you need help developing an impact framework for your organization or customizing an Impact Tracker, CIR offers workshops and coaching on a fee-for-service basis. Contact CIR’s director of strategic research, Lindsay Green-Barber, at for more information.

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Green-Barber is the director of strategic research at The Center for Investigative reporting. She works to identify, assess and rigorously test areas of programmatic work where CIR can have catalytic impact through its content distribution and engagement. She leads research and analysis and serves as an expert both internally and for external partnerships.
Previously, Green-Barber was an American Council for Learned Societies public fellow and served as media impact analyst at CIR. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her doctoral research, conducted from 2011 through 2013 in Ecuador, focused on indigenous organizations’ use of new information and communications technologies for social mobilization. She also taught political science courses at Hunter College.