Embrace the Data, Change the World | Beth's Blog

Embrace the Data, Change the World


I’m in Boston with Katie Paine as part of our book tour for “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” where we jointly delivered a keynote at the e-metrics conference yesterday.   The audience consisted of data geeks, data scientists, and analytics professionals! I shared an overview of networks for social change and some of the challenges that nonprofits face in embracing the data.    I told this crowd of data geeks that they should volunteer with nonprofits by signing up for the Analysis Exchange or serve on a nonprofit board – that nonprofits would  welcome their expertise.


I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of  “data literacy”  lately.  It isn’t just about collecting data or the tools to collect the data – it’s also the sense-making and having it be embedded in the nonprofit’s culture.  I contributed a post to the newly launched “Markets for Good“, an initiative to discover how the social sector can better use and share information to improve outcomes and change lives.    It’s called  “Doing the Math Ourselves” — it is about that nonprofits need to become data-informed – and that also means having a basic level of data literacy (sense-making of data, especially) for all staff as well as working in partnership with measurement experts, “data geeks,” like those I got a chance to speak to at e-metrics.

At e-metrics,   I shared  a story about DoSomething.Org’s recent “Text Pregnancy Campaign” for teens and how they used measurement.   What resonated with the crowd (based on a quick sample of tweets), was the idea of using a failfest to share what didn’t work and look at ways to improve results.

KD gave an awesome presentation taking us through the “7 Steps of Measurement” that she has adapted for nonprofits. She made one point that resonated with the crowd and I think is even more important for nonprofits:

There was some good discussion and questions about how you measure results from social media offline and the reminder that influence can be and should measured offline.

Following the e-metrics, Joselin Mane hosted a Boston TweetUp and it was great to reconnect with old friends!

Earlier in the day, I got a chance to visit Hubspot and meet with Brooke Freedman and Brian Halligan, CEO to learn more about Hubspot’s strategy and measurement work with nonprofits.

Today is a full day of book talks ending with a party at the Boston Nonprofit Tech Club.

7 Responses

  1. Jim Sterne says:

    Thank you so much for participating Beth. We always attract a fair number of non-profits and they were delighted to have a session aimed at their needs. But everybody learned a lot from your Big Picture perspective, hands-on specifics and some tricks of the trade that can benefit everybody trying to communicate online.

    Many, many thanks!

  2. Beth – so awesome to have you by the HubSpot offices yesterday! We are big fans of the work you do to help Nonprofits become data-informed. On the Nonprofits team here, we work on teaching the same thing. Can’t wait to dig into your new book!

  3. Beth says:

    Brooke: Thank you again for coming out to the Boston Tech Club and Hubspot sponsorship of the “buy one get one free” book deal! I’m a huge fan of HubSpot’s work and delighted to hear about your efforts to serve nonprofits.

  4. Beth says:

    Jim: Thank you so much for inviting me to speak! I have learned so much from the measurement community – and especially the legendary KD Paine.

  5. Stacy says:

    Great information for non-profits! I am sharing this!

  6. sidhanth singh says:

    dear friend,
    as we are warking for poor childs education,health injharkhand india.our organaization is open girls schools collage,and hospitale please financial help our organaization.

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