You are here

Must read for any organizer: Measuring the Networked Nonprofit

Submitted by Jason on May 10, 2013 - 6:09pm

Affecting social change is without a doubt the ultimate goal for nonprofit organizations. Along the journey of social change there are several bumps in the road, detours, and organizations at times get lost and can't find their way. Measuring the Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine provides the perfect road map to help nonprofits use modern technology to take advantage of the various digital tools at our disposal. Whether your organization is trying to convert Facebook likes into real world volunteers, or is looking to launch it’s first crowdfunding campaign, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit has a treasure trove of useful tools, tips and strategies for becoming an effectively networked nonprofit.

Authors Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine detail how to use measurement tools to understand how your organization currently operates, how to incorporate digital data tools, and how to use that data to inform better practices. Measuring the Networked Nonprofit is an essential tool necessary for helping organizations not only increase exposure, engagement, and participation, but also measure bigger goals such as increasing awareness and improving relationships.

Measuring the Networked Nonprofit strategically guides readers through different strategies and tactics to use measurement and social media to grow your organization's capacity. What is reassuring for folks like myself who are new to measurement is that it constantly emphasizes that measurement is nothing to fear. It stresses the importance that measuring failure is part of the path to success, and through transparency we can be sure to avoid possible pitfalls while keeping an eye out for opportunities. Organizational improvement is an iterative process and only by being willing to fail can we learn what works and what doesn't.

Measuring the Networked Nonprofit makes the case,quite convincingly, that data is one of the most powerful tools a nonprofit has. Why? Data helps improve decision making, measures the impact on mission and organizational goals, empowers constant process improvement, and ensures organizational priorities match what your movement is looking for. Most organizations avoid data because they don't know what to do with the information, they're unaware of the methods of measurement and costs associated, or they think it's too much work. This book quickly slams the door on all of those concerns because it provides solutions to every problem in practical, measurable, and actionable ways.

Although every chapter in the book is resourceful, we've narrowed it down to what we think are our favorite parts. Our next few blogs will cover the topics of:

  1. Converting Facebook likes into Dollars
  2. A/B testing
  3. Crowdsourcing

These topics help uncover the value of measurement. Increasing engagement, optimizing your content, and turning your network into thousands of champions for your cause are all elements of community organizing every organization seeks to do better.

Whether you're a newly formed nonprofit or have been around for decades, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit is useful for all organizations because it proves that measurement empowers you to make more informed and effective decisions, and ultimately, a better organizer.