How To Make Measurement Fun! | Beth's Blog

How To Make Measurement Fun!


Flickr Photo by Martin Deutsch

Last week I wrote about nonprofit “measurement malaise” that keeps some nonprofits putting a measurement strategy for their integrated communications campaigns into practice. In the comments, I asked how can we make measurement fun?  In response, Jono Smith said that was like asking how to make going to the dentist fun!

Or maybe funerals?

Whenever I do workshops and talk about measurement, I immediately see most people’s eyes glaze over unless they are member of the Spreadsheet Appreciation Society.    That phrase was used in this job description from Hubspot:

At HubSpot,  we dream in graphs and our native tongue is Spreadsheet Speak. Our data might be the most metrically driven data you’ve seen.  That’s right, we are metrics freaks. We measure EVERYTHING, all the time. If you are not part of the Spreadsheet Appreciation Society, you will not have a good time working at HubSpot. The right candidate will understand perfectly what we mean and will smile upon reading this bullet point.

Not everyone is born with this gene. Most people view  measurement as punishment, not something fun or valued.

Some ways to make measurement sexy include focusing on the results by celebrating them.  Also, the reporting by using visual humor.     When I asked folks on Twitter, many responded by like Erica Mills and suggested: gamify it.

That made me think of Nicole Lazzaro’s serious fun framework and how to use it to design reports.

Source: Nicole Lazzaro

I asked how to make measurement fun on Facebook, and here are some suggestions.

1.  Celebrate Small Successes: L.P. Neenz suggested rewards.  For example, if you get higher conversion rate, you go out for ice cream (or shaved ice if you’re in Hawaii).

2.  Humanize the Reporting: Don’t just report numbers, include the stories.  Using personas or vignettes can make data come alive and make it more relevant.

3.  Visual Humor: Don’t just use numbers, bar charts, and graphs.  Find metaphors and use those.  John Haydon suggested a horse race.  He added that it doesn’t have to be fancy, someone can draw something on a dry erase board.

4.  Report the Impact: Connect your numbers or reports to the impact of your nonprofit’s work.  This can make everyone not only feel good about the working for the organization, but maybe motivate some to fill those spreadsheets with meaningful data.

5.  Cut the Salami Into Smaller Pieces: Don’t wait until the end to collect all your data, collect a little bit each month GiveZooks suggests.

6.  Metrics the Musical: Perhaps this was just a fun answer, but reporting in song!  I tried to find some interesting YouTube clips and there is a metrics measurement song.   Maybe we need to create playlist of “music to crunch data by.”

7.   Make the Report Tactile: Of course, this would take way too much time, but letting people play with the data.

What’s the answer?   Focus  on the reporting of outcomes versus the data and the data collection  process.   Take for example,  if you tried to answer every single  data analysis questions from Facebook Insights, you might find yourself exhausted from generating too much “just in case” data.   Data is plentiful.   What is more valuable is the reiterative process of looking at your data against your objectives and revising strategy, tactics or adjusting outcomes.

How have you made measurement fun for your nonprofit?  What are some creative ways that you have used metrics and measurement and had everyone at your nonprofit enjoy it?

14 Responses

  1. Cheryl Chang says:

    Where do you find these gems? Metrics Measurement Song? So nerdy and cute.

  2. Geri Stengel says:

    Good suggestions all, to which I’d add: Show staff the metrics that relate to their jobs and let them see how their work affects the success of the organization.

  3. Owen Smith says:

    Thought you might like to reference the evaluation report that’s just been released for a good example of an organisation in the social field that’s starting to look at it’s most successful projects and figure out what’s missing from the equation. You can find them here:

    Also, a very obvious one, but surely the biggest inspiration for making evaluation interesting has to be !

  4. Owen Smith says:

    its* not it’s – see above

  5. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but measure failure first. Dig around in the data to find the things that didnt’ work. They’re the easiest to fix, and you’ll feel like you made a difference.
    Remember when you were a kid and asked “why” to everything> I used to drive grown ups crazy doing that. But it helped me understand the world. Do the same when you see research data. Get a friend to present data and just keep asking “so what” and “why” it’s amazing how many aha moments you’ll have. And the more aha moments, the more fun

  6. Erica Mills says:

    A re-brand might be a tidge ambitious…a measurement flash mob could be pretty darn fun, though.

    Thanks for the ideas and links to inspiration, Beth!

  7. Beth says:

    Erica: Tell me more about your measurement flash mob idea?

  8. Erica Mills says:

    Depending on the data, I could see something where different groups of people represent different results and then it comes together to show the sum of the parts and/or use different music (tempo, style, etc) to illustrate key findings.

  9. Beth says:

    Erica: You talking about something like this?

  10. Erica Mills says:

    I was thinking of how to make the data interesting to external audiences. So those involved in the learning loops might then create a flash mob to bring the data to life.

    So it might’ve been like this video (Tipping Point used a flash mob to get folks seated at a big fundraising event, something that’s usually tough and slow-going, and they made it very fun and clever!) only have a clear tie to the data (signs would probably be needed):

  11. Ricky says:

    Well mcaadmaia nuts, how about that.

  12. Tyler Kunkle says:

    You will be lucky to get any major website to accept your articles. They aren’t the ones you should focus on. Go for the smaller websites that are owned by one or two people. These people love content and will happily accept a guest article.

  13. Kandi Hughen says:

    Pretty good article. I just came across your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your opinions. I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again very soon.

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