More Beth, More Books & More Fun: Our Launch Party for “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit”
Right off the bat, social media guru Beth Kanter had heads nodding at the book launch event we hosted for her in San Francisco this week: "I used to think measurement was the equivalent of Darth Vader chasing after me with a radioactive light saber. I feared it and was overwhelmed even thinking about it."
Fortunately, Kanter has moved through her earlier fear and teamed up with measurement expert KD Paine on a new resource for nonprofits and funders alike, “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” – hashtag #netnon. The book picks up where Kanter and Allison Fine’s seminal work “The Networked Nonprofit” left off, providing practical and useful frameworks for measuring the impact of the social media efforts described in the first book.
At the launch event hosted by ZeroDivide and co-sponsors, the Levi Strauss Foundation and Northern California Grantmakers, the audience of funders and nonprofit staffers were treated to vivid examples of organizations’ struggles and successes with measurement -- as well as the authors’ favorite cartoons from the book. For the record, Beth’s fave is from the chapter on understanding and visualizing networks, depicting two people staring at a map, with one saying, "No wonder we're lost, this is a map of my LinkedIn network!"
Paine, the author of numerous books including “Measure What Matters,” drove home the point that having a social media measurement plan and approach can no longer be an afterthought: it is a requirement of success for organizations in the 21st century. Using measurement tools and strategies, even in a modest way, can produce results-driven metrics for staff and stakeholders that greatly improve decision-making and effectiveness.
Both authors noted that they’ve heard from many nonprofits that there just isn’t the time or resources or expertise to set up systems to measure outcomes – it’s not a priority given the pressing nature of their mission-related work. Other organizations have begun to embrace the notion of measurement but are confused or unclear on how to make it happen.
Beth laid out the “5 stages of measurement acceptance” they’ve identified:
- Denial - Not a priority, don’t have time/resources to measure
- Fear - Might find out a favorite program isn’t a success
- Confusion – Interested, but not clear how to begin and sustain
- Data delighters - Lots of data, but not applying it well
- Data informed - Using data throughout the organization to get better results
KD riffed on Beth’s “crawl, walk, run, fly” framework around social media to encourage organizations to push through the initial inertia and get started measuring – right away - even at a very modest level. She cited a number of case studies in the book that are inspiring in this regard, and also mentioned several “volunteer match programs” that pair up nonprofits with pro bono data and measurement experts (e.g. DataKind and Measurement Exchange).
The lively Q&A session confirmed the growing recognition of the importance of data measurement for strengthening the social sector. Beth and KD wrapped up the event by signing copies of “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” and rhyming in iambic pentameter – sort of ...
You can view Beth's and KD's full remarks here and check out more pics of the event on our Facebook page. And, be sure to read Jeff Perlstein's blog, 'Three Gems from Beth Kanter’s new “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit'.
“Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” is a hands-on resource for nonprofit professionals looking to accurately measure the results of their social media ventures. All of Beth Kanter’s royalties from sales of the book will support the Sharing Foundation‘s college education program for young people in Cambodia.
Keep up with Beth and all things "Measuring" via the book wiki.
(Pictured: Beth Kanter (left) and KD Paine (right))