October 22, 2012

12 ways measuring can empower your nonprofit

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Book giveaway: Win the book to grasp the power of metrics!

John HaydonIf you’re like most nonprofit professionals, you’ll eventually admit that you could do a better job of measuring.

The good news is that you’re not alone. Most nonprofits (and in fact most for-profits) are struggling with the challenge of measuring relationships, which is essentially what social media is all about.

To help you keep your eyes on the prize, Beth Kanter and Katie Paine sell the benefits of measurement in their new book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.

Win a free copy of ‘Measuring the Networked Nonprofit’

Want a free copy? Leave a comment below about what measurement has done for your organization. Co-author Beth Kanter will be randomly select a commenter to receive a free copy of “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.” Feel free to share this post on Twitter, too!

Chapter 4 outlines 12 reasons that measurement is powerful:

  1. It helps you get to where you’re going. Because social media is essentially about relationships, continuous feedback is required to improve them.
  2. It stimulates new ideas on what to do next. Analyzing data is not just data dumping. It’s discovery!
  3. It gives you credibility. You’ll need this to get support for your awesome ideas.
  4. It helps you discover what tools and tactics work best for your particular goals.
  5. It saves you time. If you know that you’re not getting results from a particular approach, you’ll stop doing it.
  6. It increases the likelihood of success through informed planning.
  7. It helps you raise more money. If you know why potential donors abandoned transactions, you’ll fix it. If you know which messages turn one-time donors into repeat donors, you’ll use them.
  8. It helps you work smarter. Unicorns and rainbows just don’t cut it anymore.
  9. It fuels your passion. We all could use more of this, right?
  10. It generates excitement. Ditto.
  11. It helps you change the world.
  12. The last thing I’ll say about Measuring the Networked Nonprofit is that it will help you begin to improve – starting from where you are right now.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to win a copy of the book!

Update: Our comments service, LiveFyre, has been up and down all day because of a power outage at Amazon AWS. If you don’t see comments below, please check back.


Metrics tips & best practices (Socialbrite) John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter or leave a comment.

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26 thoughts on “12 ways measuring can empower your nonprofit

  1. Measurement (what I’ve been able to do so far) has definitely helped us use our resources wisely, adjusting our outreach and advertising to get the maximum return, and knowing when to abandon or radially overhaul methods that aren’t working.

  2. Measurement is helping me prove the importance of social media to my bosses and my org’s board.

    • @Brooklawn_CFS Exactly! When social media results in real-world actions and impact, instead of the airy-fairy stuff, is when people take notice and skeptics get converted.

  3. With measurement I can target announcements for interest groups that may be interested in our activity and enlarge the community of experienced users.

  4. Measurement has allowed our organization to better target and engage supporters in advocacy actions.

    • @mitchmerry Thanks Mitch! If there are any particular metrics you’re using to determine the effectiveness of your actions, do share. (I like statf.ly, which costs about 20 bucks a month, for nonprofits running campaigns.)

  5. I recently transitioned from the agency world to a nonprofit, and while I do not have tangible results thus far ( I started a week ago) one of my main responsibilities for the first few months in this role is to determine ways we can benefit from using data and implement measurement standards.  I understand and have experience in using data measurement to find key influencers from a corporate perspective, measure the outcomes of social media and communications strategies, but I have yet to translate this to my nonprofit organization.

  6. Thanks folks! Make sure you check back on this page in the next couple of days, because I believe LiveFyre doesn’t supply us with your email address so no way to contact you directly!
    Also, LiveFyre reports that Amazon AWS had a partial outage today that has prevented people from posting comments. So, apologies for that! (Nice timing, Amazon!)

  7. I already bought my copy of “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” at a Beth-Katie book party at Stanford last week (interesting discussion, too!). I’m sure I’ll pick up some great pointers, given the great amount of interest in metrics that we’re starting to see in the nonprofit community.
    It’s worth mentioning that once a month I give a webinar for @CharityHowTo on The Power of Metrics: Why Your Nonprofit Should be Obsessed with Web & Social Media Metrics. The next one is Monday, Oct. 29, and we always get favorable reviews. It’s not free, but may be worth the investment if you’re serious about creating a modest metrics program for your nonprofit:
    Regardless, you should read Beth’s new book to understand how measurement can be used to advance your organization’s mission!

  8. Quantifying what works and what doesn’t has allowed us to improve our campaigns, then by doing so has increased our reach & audience. Thus, measurement has allowed us to prove to our funders that what we do is worthwhile, and that they should keep investing in our cause.

  9. As the old saying goings “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted,” so I really need my free copy of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit to help guide me! ;)

  10. We’ve created a website for engaging physicians in the quality metrics we track at our hospital. At Matherdoc.org we hope to create a reliable, engaging, useful, and sustainable tool for hospital-physician communication. In the next year, we’d love to take it to the next level, by developing the social networking potential of a membership site like matherdoc.org.

  11. At Mather Hospital, we’ve created a physician focused website featuring calendars, brief hospital news stories, EHR updates and Meaningful Use tips. Ultimately we hope to engage them by sharing some of the ways the hospital measures quality. At http://www.matherdoc.org we are building a reliable, engaging, useful, and sustainable tool for hospital-physician communication. In the upcoming year we plan to develop the social networking potential of our membership site community.

  12. The act of ‘measuring’ implies that a non profit org has made a plan of its strategy to work on social media: this is not always the case, and I think it’s the main challenge for them. Reading the book will help me to be a better consultant for them to drive this change! Thanks!

  13. Measurement helped us to show the results of websites and sweepstakes for brand of baby clothes, and get larger budget. Now we working on new, better website and we are going to campaign in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina with this brand.

  14. Measurement has helped us to develop our concepts with monitoring and evaluation top of mind from the beginning, so when it comes time for proposal writing, and of course project implementation, we have designed for impact. It can be difficult to quantify goals and objectives, but this is really the only way to keep tabs on progress and at the of the day, be able to definitively say that we have truly made a difference in our field.

  15. The information found in Measurement has helped me develop a better strategy to social media and data collecting. I use this for my chapter with the Cal Aggie Alumni Association and with coaching nonprofits. Whether it be the lessons on how data collection needs to mean something otherwise it’s trivia or utilizing more pet photos in presentations to gain popularity, the chapters provide an easy way to build up from one measurement to the next.

  16. Far too many people jump on social tactics without a roadmap or a plan. Measurement is the bones of a vision that connects a Facebook Page, Twitter handle, and Google hangout into creating meaningful change in the world. I look forward to reading this book and adding measurement best practices to my toolset for building communities of change.

  17. If you can’t measure it, you can’t prove your success. We’re moving toward more engagement, more measurement, and more success!

  18. This is very interesting and a tool I need even if I do win the book I still am going to purchase it today from you site.  What I read are all tools that I need to take my non profit to the next level thank you for your incite

  19. We were not previously measuring much of anything before.  Measuring has allowed us to have deeper relationships with folks and a clear connection when we meet face to face.

  20. Beth will be popping by tomorrow (Thursday) to name a winner for her book giveaway, folks. Thanks!

  21. Beth’s traveling in DC on her book tour so asked me to announce the winner.
    Congrats to kathrynferreira, you’ve won a copy of “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.” Hope you find it useful! Contact us so we can get your mailing address! We’re following you on Twitter. :~)