The Paine of Measurement
by Katie Delahaye Paine
As you may have heard, my co-author Beth Kanter and I have been on a book tour to launch "Measuring the Networked NonProfit." As part of that we've been doing a lot of speeches and talks on the subject of nonprofit measurement. In every talk, the one statement that always seems to take everyone by surprise is: "Measurement in the nonprofit world is so much easier than in the for-profit world." For some reason, no one really believes me!
So I thought I owed the world a better explanation...
The simple cliché is that people don’t go into the nonprofit sector for the money. In reality, what I find is that people go to work for a particular nonprofit because they have at least an affinity for, and most likely a passion for, the mission of that nonprofit. Whether the cause be cancer, cute animals or climate change, people work longer and harder for less money because they believe that what they are doing can change the world.
The absolutely number one ingredient for good measurement today is cooperation and sharing of data. If each department holds on to the “knowledge is power” philosophy and refuses to share marketing data with PR, or social media analytics with marketing, good measurement can’t happen.
While most people in corporate America at this point will nod their heads and agree in principle, the intrinsic silos that plague for-profit corporations inevitably get in the way. While the end result in the for-profit world is greater efficiency, great profit, and a better working environment, that may not be enough. It frequently requires top down culture change to break down those silos.
But in the nonprofit world, it’s not just about greater efficiency it’s about changing the part of the world that is your mission. So when I suggest to a data analyst in the non-profit world that he/she share their data with PR or the social media team, it’s a very short discussion that goes like this:
Data analyst: Why do you need it?
KDP client: We want to conserve our resources, be more effective, improve our effectiveness and ultimately save more kittens – or puppies, or carbon footprints… whatever.
Data analyst: Oh, okay, here’s the log in.
It's as easy as that. And if you’re skeptical, how about this:
- At Mother’s Against Drunk Driving this very brief conversation resulted in the client being able to determine which specific messages resulted in greater contributions to the cause.
- At the Corporation for National and Community Service, this conversation resulted in optimizing their communications to increase the number of volunteers in America.
- At UNICEF, that type of sharing of data resulted in their Social and Civic Media team determining which of their numerous Good Will Ambassadors were most helpful in getting their messages out there.
- At USO that type of data sharing revealed which of their numerous fund raising tactics were most cost-effective.
- At Habitat for Humanity that type of data sharing reduced the costs per house built and volunteer acquired.
Of course I do understand that corporate for-profit goals are generally more complex and the marketing mix makes allocation more difficult. But how about this for an idea?: Non-profits, share with us more stories of great measurement. Maybe the for-profit side will begin to share just to catch up.
Katie Delahaye Paine is Chairman, KDPaine & Partners, (a Salience Insight company), and Chief Marketing Officer of News Group International. KDP&P delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine is a dynamic and experienced speaker on public relations and social media measurement. Click here for the schedule of Katie’s upcoming speaking engagements. Katie and Beth Kanter are authors of the book “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” to be published this year by Wiley.
The Measurement Standard is a publication of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine, CEO of KDPaine & Partners, will be glad to talk with you about measurement for your organization.