‘Measuring’ Relationships

One of the most pressing challenges shared by many who believe in the importance of relationships lies in demonstrating the added value that they bring. The intimacy and idiosyncracy of relationships defy the sort of measurement that we have come accustomed to, and this stands in our way of convincing ‘relationship skeptics’ of the need to put them front and centre.  

We do not profess to have the answers to this knotty conundrum, but we are committed to advancing the conversation by bringing together those who share an interest in this question. We’d love it if you’d join us. 

We are collectively in a place where the question of how best to measure or value relationships is deeply contested. Wherever you are, a huge amount of energy is poured into the question of how we articulate the value of relationships, and this is threatening our resolve.

Iona Lawrence

Through Thick and Thin

Opening up the conversation

In June 2020, 40 of us gathered together to begin an exploration of these questions. We left with many more questions than answers and with a shared energy to continue the conversation. To see what we discusessed, take a look at the write up here.

There was particular energy to continue exploring two key themes:

Relational Funding

How can grantmaking and commissioning be more relational? What does relational funding look like, and how might we get there?


How can we leverage the power of stories to articulate and celebrate the power of relationships? Where can we look to for inspiration?

In the coming months, we’ll be hosting one-to-one and group conversations around each of these themes. We’d love it if you’d join us. 

Storytelling as a means of ‘measurement’

Here at The Relationships Project, we’re big believers in the power of a story, and we know we’re not alone. Stories enable people to share, in their own words, their experiences, challenges, hopes and dreams. They give more space for nuance, complexity and personal journeys. They offer an antidote to depersonalising statistics. But they can be viewed as fluffy, bias, cherry picking the positives. This light-touch review of storytelling methodologies seeks to highlight ways in which we can apply rigor to story-based approaches to measurement.

We hope for this to become a collaboratively owned and collectively written resource. Please add your ideas and experiences.