Posts Tagged ‘Measuring the Networked Nonprofit’

Are you measuring what matters?

Having just led a lively author interview with social media measurement gurus, Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, about their latest book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, you can imagine what a timely surprise it was to read this morning’s headline, “Why your social media metrics are a waste of time” by Ivory Madison in the Harvard Business Review blog.

“Vanity metrics” are false idols. Ivory says, “If you think page views, unique visitors, registered members, conversion rates, email-newsletter open rates, number of Twitter followers, or Facebook likes are important by themselves, you probably have no idea what you’re doing. Those metrics are the most common false idols of analytics. They’re what Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, calls ‘vanity metrics.’”

Ask “So what?” Vanity metrics are tempting to tout, but they don’t measure what really matters, explains Ivory. Our featured authors at CausePlanet agree. Ivory, Kanter and Paine claim you have to ask “So what?” when you look at your metrics. Before you get excited about thousands of Facebook fans, ask yourself what metric actually reflects a connection between increased donations and the prompt you provided on your social media network.

Measure what matters. In the social sector, we know that relationship building is the prequel to the main event: giving. It’s no different with social networks, says Paine. Interact with your online community just like you would at a social event in person. Demonstrate humanity, transparency and passion when sharing about your cause. Measure what matters, say Kanter and Paine. Measure how your relationships move up the engagement ladder so your community is there for you when you need them, the authors add.

Read more about Kanter and Paine’s advice in our recent posts about Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. You can purchase their book at www.wiley.com or read a summary in our latest Page to Practice™ feature of the book. Check out the summary store or subscribe to the library for full access to all of our recommended titles.

See also:
More Page to Practice™ recommended reading about social media and marketing

Leave a reply

Social media measurement: Avoid the most common mistakes

When I read a book for CausePlanet, one of my favorite tasks is highlighting great quotes or passages that underscore important themes. We call these “keeper quotes.” In Measuring the Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, there were so many to choose from. Here’s one that made it into our Page to Practice™ book summary:

“The most important thing to remember about measurement tools is that they will do only what you tell them to do. Collecting data is easy, but collecting the right data to answer your questions requires careful planning and appropriate tools. There are currently more than 250 tools that a networked nonprofit can choose from to measure its results.”

Kanter and Paine’s sentiments about measurement planning are paramount. In fact, when I asked them in our author interview about common nonprofit mistakes, the issue was raised again. Join me in learning from the mistakes our authors have observed:

CP: What is the most common mistake nonprofits make when attempting to measure their social media activity?

Kanter: Many nonprofits start with the data collection tools or the data. This is natural because it is way more fun to talk about the tools and collect data than to figure out what works and to really think about what your data means and how to apply it. I’ve decided I want a t-shirt that says, “Spend More Time Thinking About Your Data Than Collecting It!”

Paine: I totally agree with Beth. The worst mistake I’ve ever seen was a nonprofit that called me in to help it define its metrics. At the end of an eight-hour conversation that defined its metrics as increasing messaging and increasing engagement with employees, the staff asked me if the new “platform” – for which it had just written a  -$60,000 check would measure what it intended to measure. I was very familiar with the tool and sadly it did not.

The other big mistake nonprofits make is to not bring their different data streams together. They frequently have member data siloed from web analytics which is further siloed from media results. In fact, it is only when you bring the three together and correlate what tactic has the biggest impact do you get the real insights.

CausePlanet members: Register for our live interview on Monday, December 17 with Kanter and Paine. You can purchase this book at www.josseybass.com or download our summary and interview at the summary store or subscribe to our library of recommended titles.

More book titles about social media

Illustration credit: Rob Cottingham

Leave a reply

Kanter and Paine share their favorite book passages

Creating social change is everyone’s goal within a nonprofit organization. Authors Kanter and Paine argue you can’t get there without a map. “Measurement is your map and metrics are your signposts.” Furthermore, they claim connecting people, deepening their engagement and inspiring donations are relatively easy to measure.

While nonprofits realize social media is a cost-effective tool for growing their base of friends and supporters, they must set goals and strategically network online just like they would with in-person donor cultivation. In my interview with Kanter and Paine about Measuring the Nonprofit Network, I asked them about their favorite chapters in the book as well as what was left on the editing floor. You’ll appreciate their insights and surprising answers to the questions below.

CausePlanet: In your opinion, what’s the most important chapter in the book?

Kanter: I think my favorite chapter is the chapter on becoming data-informed. My big “aha” moment was when I spent several days interviewing the staff at DoSomething.org and speaking with some of the board members (http://www.bethkanter.org/switch-data-driven/). They are the poster children for being data-informed. That led to contemplating the practices of what being data-informed looks like at different levels. The other important chapter is chapter five where we talk about defining the value of using networked approaches and social media–understanding the difference between activity and results.

Paine: From a writing perspective, I loved pulling together the chapters on influence and transparency because we were really pushing the envelope there, suggesting measures no one is really using yet. In terms of the reader, it’s chapter nine–getting to that “aha” moment–which to me is the greatest seductress of measurement.

CausePlanet: What ideas were left on the editing floor and perhaps we’ll see in your next book?

Kanter: I’m not sure I’ll write another book–just joking. My next book will not come from the stuff we edited out of this book, but it will come from ideas that have been percolating with me since I turned in the manuscript! I am most interested in the notion of learning from failure and how nonprofits can embrace innovation by adapting more creative ways to plan, manage and adapt their programs.

Paine: Beth’s contacts exposed me to so many wonderful measurement case studies. The next book will be something about “Tales from the Measurement Trenches,” telling more of the stories that didn’t fit into the book.

CausePlanet members: Register for our live interview on Monday, December 17 with Kanter and Paine. You can purchase this book at www.josseybass.com or download our summary and interview at the summary store or subscribe to our library of recommended titles.

More book titles about social media

Illustration credit: Rob Cottingham

Leave a reply

Kanter and Paine share their favorite social media insights

Creating social change is everyone’s goal within a nonprofit organization. Authors Kanter and Paine argue you can’t get there without a map. “Measurement is your map and metrics are your signposts.” Furthermore, they claim connecting people, deepening their engagement and inspiring donations are relatively easy to measure. While nonprofits realize social media is a cost-effective tool for growing their base of friends and supporters, they must set goals and strategically network online just like they would with in-person donor cultivation. In my interview with Kanter and Paine about Measuring the Nonprofit Network, I asked them about their favorite chapters in the book as well as what was left on the editing floor. You’ll appreciate their insights and surprising answers to the questions below.

CausePlanet: In your opinion, what’s the most important chapter in the book?

Kanter: I think my favorite chapter is the chapter on becoming data-informed. My big “aha” moment was when I spent several days interviewing the staff at DoSomething.org and speaking with some of the board members. They are the poster children for being data-informed. That led to contemplating the practices of what being data-informed looks like at different levels. The other important chapter is chapter five where we talk about defining the value of using networked approaches and social media–understanding the difference between activity and results.

Paine: From a writing perspective, I loved pulling together the chapters on influence and transparency because we were really pushing the envelope there, suggesting measures no one is really using yet. In terms of the reader, it’s chapter nine–getting to that “aha” moment–which to me is the greatest seductress of measurement.

CausePlanet: What ideas were left on the editing floor and perhaps we’ll see in your next book?

Kanter: I’m not sure I’ll write another book–just joking. My next book will not come from the stuff we edited out of this book, but it will come from ideas that have been percolating with me since I turned in the manuscript! I am most interested in the notion of learning from failure and how nonprofits can embrace innovation by adapting more creative ways to plan, manage and adapt their programs.

Paine: Beth’s contacts exposed me to so many wonderful measurement case studies. The next book will be something about “Tales from the Measurement Trenches,” telling more of the stories that didn’t fit into the book.

We’re obviously in store for more great things from Kanter and Paine. CausePlanet members, register for the live interview with these measurement experts on Monday, December 17. You can purchase their book at www.josseybass.com or download our Page to Practice summary and interview at the summary store or subscribe to our library of recommended titles. Watch for our next installment of our Page to Practice interview with Kanter and Paine in our blog.

See also:

More book titles about social media
Illustration credit: Rob Cottingham

Leave a reply

Welcome! Please provide your log-in information below.
Forget your password?
Enter your email or user name and your log-in information will be sent to the email on file.