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Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World

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Author: 
Beth Kanter
Katie Delahaye Paine
Publication Date: 
October 9, 2012

"The way we engage in meaningful social change is being fundamentally altered by technology....Two key processes lead to tremendous success for nonprofits: becoming networked and using measurement."

This book offers the tools and strategies needed for nonprofit organisations that need reliable and measurable data from their social media efforts. The authors contend that using these tools will not only improve a nonprofit's decision making process but will produce results-driven metrics for staff and stakeholders. Described here are various examples and practical techniques being undertaken by "networked nonprofits", defined as organisations that use social networks and the technology of social media to extend their research, capabilities, and effectiveness. An organisation with a "data-informed culture" collects data on its communication results and then uses this data to make decisions - continuously improving and refining its systems.

Themes that emerge from the experience of United States (US)-based Momsrising.org are threaded throughout the resource. Their work "has fueled the organization's growth from zero members in May 2006 to over a million active members - moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, and uncles - today" and includes:

  1. "Likes" on Facebook Is not a Victory - Social Change Is - MomsRising uses social networking to get the attention of policymakers. Their goal is to get legislatures to pass family-friendly policies (as well as to increase capacity, increase the movement by increasing membership, work with aligned partner organisations, and garner attention from all media through creative engagement). As one indicator of progress toward that goal, MomsRising counted an invitation to bring mothers to the White House to talk with policymakers about their experience with Medicaid. The White House blogged about the power of people's stories, and MomsRising members blogged about their White House experience.
  2. Measurement Helps Nonprofits Understand and Improve Their Social Networks - For instance, MomsRising uses member feedback in the form of stories or comments on social channels or emails (or in more structured ways, such as surveys) to make decisions about their work to build a movement for family economic security.
  3. Measurement Means Data for Decisions, Not for Data's Sake - "[M]easurement isn't about justifying one's existence or budget...[It] is about using data to learn to become more effective and more efficient...It's about reaching more people, and becoming better at saving the world."
  4. Measurement Makes You Plan for Success - "More and more nonprofits are making larger investments in social media...Measurement helps you make smarter investments and helps you use those investments in a smarter way."
  5. Good Measurement is Good Governance - "As networked nonprofits become more skilled in their social media practice, their boards and senior management are becoming more knowledgeable about this area. They expect reports showing social media results, and they expect results expressed in the kind of language that measurement provides."

There is also an interactive website based on this resource; it includes information about training workshops and other ideas for networked organisations.

Cost: 
US$34.95
Number of Pages: 

336

Contact Information: 
Source: 

Email from Brett Davidson to The Communication Initiative on January 30 2013.

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