on January 21, 2013
Attempting to become more effective in my volunteer capacities with nonprofits and social media, I read "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine. Published in Autumn 2012, I was hoping for something up-to-date and this book did not disappoint. Most of the references and tools mentioned are current. That hasn't always been the case for me when reading books related to social media where things tend to change rapidly.
What is excellent about this book is it takes models and theories, for example "ladder of engagement," and presents these in everyday language, tying in practical advice, current means of measurement, and examples. This helps make complexities of measurement more accessible to those in nonprofits who deal with social media and presenting its results to decision makers. My perspective is that of a volunteer for largely volunteer run organizations, so I had to translate for that regarding the small staff discussions throughout the book. I imagine the same would be true of mid-size nonprofit employers, having to translate back to a smaller scale concern, but I believe this book would be applicable for quite a range of nonprofits.
That is not to say I found the book perfect. For one, transitions between topics can be rather abrupt within chapter narratives, even for a nonfiction book about technical issues. Also, future editions of "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" should correct the one key weakness within it - the examples were rather hit or miss. First, the hypothetical Katie's Kat Shelter (KKS) was used so many times that it hindered rather than forwarded the points being made. How likely are such concepts and measures to work in the real world if the text's examples have to be imagined to write about? Even the real world examples needed more care. The full-page SeaWorld example in the chapter on relationship building may indeed be applicable to social media for organizations in crisis, but SeaWorld is a business, not a nonprofit. That's not to say that business applications aren't applicable for nonprofits, it just wasn't presented that way within this book specifically about measurement for nonprofits.
Those concerns aside, MEASURING THE NETWORKED NONPROFIT is an excellent resource for the times. Making complex analyses more accessible is a worthwhile contribution to those involved in helping nonprofits that seek to help in the world.
on November 14, 2012
Beth Kanter's first book, The Networked Nonprofit, taught us how to use social media tools. Her latest book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, which is co-authored by Katie Delahaye Paine, teaches us how to measure what we've done.
The whole idea of measurement and insight has been on my brain for two reasons.
First, During Pinktober Megan Strand and I interviewed the author of Pink Ribbons Inc. on CauseTalk Radio. I initially thought we'd be on opposite sides of the argument, but I found myself nodding in agreement throughout our conversation. She wasn't against cause marketing, as I had wrongly assumed. But she did have some good questions on measurement and insight within the pink ribbons movement. What was the real value of breast cancer awareness? How was success being measured? What goals have and haven't been achieved? You can listen to the show yourself, but I concluded Pinktober needed less emotion and ribbon-waving and more measurement and insight.
My second run in with measurement peaked after the presidential election. How could so many people say for so long that the race was so close only to have Romney lose in a landslide? They're now saying that Romney will get two to three million fewer votes than McCain did in 2008. How is that possible as no one ever called that race a close one? What was and wasn't measured and why did pollsters draw different conclusions from the data?
Lastly, who the hell is this wicked smart guy Nate Silver that everyone is talking about?
Obviously, I have a lot to learn about measuring the success of just about everything.
That's why I want to finish Beth and Katie's book so I can better teach my clients how to measure the success of their social media efforts. What I've really liked about the book so far is it has a ton of case studies. The authors also don't assume you've read Beth's first book (or even her blog) and implemented all the things she suggested.
This book has something for everyone. Even if you're still crawling when others are walking, running and flying (the four stages of becoming data informed in the book), you'll learn something.
A book like this raises the bar for everything you do. Sure, it teaches you how to measure your effectiveness on social media and how to make better decisions. But It also challenges you to do everything better through measurement and insight. For nonprofits, the result will be a better world, which I'm sure Beth and Katie are eager to measure.
on October 8, 2012
I've been looking forward to the release of this book for quite sometime. Beth and Katie have done a terrific job outlining the techniques for and importance of measuring networking efforts in the nonprofit setting. The wisdom starts in the Preface and continues chockablock until the end! I highly recommend this text to all of my nonprofit colleagues.
on October 25, 2013
this book is THE complete guide to an integrated information driven advocacy strategy. the book is entertaining, engaging, full of practical ideas/tips/templates, approachable, and speaks to the heart of the matter. i am so glad i purchased this resources and cant wait to start implementing this new way of thinking!
on December 13, 2012
I've been a fan of both these authors for a long time. And to have them team up to write--what a treat. You'll get only the best and most practical info from these two. If you've read The Networked Nonprofit, you'll love this book. The same foundation from that book is carried on here: networked nonprofits are organizations that "use social networks and the technology of social media to greatly extend reach, capabilities, and effectiveness." Then, borrowing a page from Katie Paine's book, Measure What Matters, (which is also an awesome read), measurement is "the process of collecting data on your communications results and using the data to learn and improve your programs." I love the phrase "data-informed culture." The book takes us from just measuring data to using that data to inform decision making and then finding more relevant data to make better decisions.
The book is loaded with case studies from organizations that grew up networking and those that adopted it at a later age. Small organizations and large ones. There is a great tool here to help you get started down the path called the Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly evaluation. It will give you an analysis of where you are in the process. And the authors stress that becoming a networked nonprofit is a process that, more often than not, is successful one baby step at a time. The book revolves around several themes, backed by case studies, that networked nonprofits operate by such as "measurement means data for decisions, not for data's sake", "likes on Facebook is not a victory, social change is", "measurement is good governance," and many more. You'll meet some highly successful organizations you may never heard of. It's just a seminal work--please pick it up if you're involved in the nonprofit sector.
on October 22, 2012
Do you want to do good in the world but get freaked out a little at the idea of data, measurement and outcomes? Never fear! Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine take all the mystery out of measuring your nonprofit's communication and engagement efforts and make it incredibly approachable. In Beth's last book she taught us all how to use social media, in a new networked approach, to achieve our missions. This book picks up there and answers the question we've all been asking over the last two years, "Now that I'm using social media to achieve my mission, how do I know if it's working?" It is chock full of great examples from organizations large and small and ends every chapter with reflective questions that will keep you on track.
If you communicate on behalf of a nonprofit you've got to read this book, pronto! And better yet, buy a copy for your Executive Director too.
Thanks Beth and Katie for giving all us Do Gooders an entertaining and approachable book that will help us all save time and be better communicators.
on September 15, 2014
This is one of those books that you will find yourself highlighting and putting sticky notes all over the place. Especially, if you love data, and believe in measuring the effectiveness of your work, you will get a kick out of this book. I haven't heard Beth Kanter or Katie Paine speak live (Beth recently spoke in Raleigh, NC and I missed it!). But this book inspired me to find a way to catch these two thought leaders live one day. If you run a nonprofit organization, or you fund one, pick up a copy and get that highlighter ready.
on May 3, 2015
Excellent! Easy to follow, easy to use. Provoked ideas for implementation and then some. Beth and Katie not only write well, they package their material in a way that is user-friendly. This book will have a prominent place on my shelf as a resource.
on June 20, 2014
Great case studies reinforcing the author's premise that success in the Networked Non-Profit area requires adopting appropriate measures of organizational health and keeping track of measurements that reflect that health.
on November 27, 2012
Well worth buying! a great read by two major authors in this space
many books focus on measurement and the corporate organisation
this one hits the spot and fills a real gap in the market