January 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival: Measurement and Learning | Beth's Blog

January 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival: Measurement and Learning


Photo by Notemily

I’m delighted to be hosting the January, 2014 Nonprofit Blog Carnival.   I put the call out for nonprofit blog posts on the topic of measuring your nonprofit’s marketing or communication strategies.

As KD Paine and I wrote in “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” measuring your social media channels, overall communications or marketing strategy is not a form of voodoo black magic; it is an art and a science. The art part is how you articulate your organization’s measure of success and formulate strategies to realize that success.    The science part of the equation starts with a solid methodology and tools.  It’s also having a clean, complete, and accurate data and the discipline to make sense of the data and use what you learn to improve results.

Here’s a roundup of submissions for your reading pleasure from some awesome nonprofit bloggers.

Blog Posts About Various Steps of the Measurement Process

In our book, “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” we offer a method for measuring marketing and communications campaigns that integrate social media.     Some of the posts shared some great case studies, insights, and tips about each step of the process:

Set Goals

Want Useful Analytics?  Set Goals by Katie Eickhoff, Social Media Manager/Senior Media Analyst for CARMA International talks that critical first step of the process – goal setting.


Once you set measurable goals, you’ve got make sure they are realistic.  The only way to do that is to benchmark against your organization’s performance or peer organizations.   Niki Kidd of Social Change,  gives us a step-by-step methodology in this post, titled Using Data to Assess Your Peers.

Pick Metrics

Now it is time to pick the metrics or data points that will let you know whether or not you’ve reached your goal.   8 Metrics To Measure Online Fundraising by  David Hartstein, Wired Impact, describes how to match metrics with your goals for measuring your fundraising efforts.

Select Your Tools

There are so many tools that you can choose from to measure your goals.   Tools fall into one of three categories – content analysis, surveys, or analytics.    Marlene Oliveira,  Copywriter and Communications Consultant, shares an interview with Jason Shim, “Google Analytics Basics for Nonprofits:  Interview with Jason Shim.”    Google Analytics is one of the most common analytics tools used by nonprofits.

Make Sense of Your Data

This step involves looking for patterns in your data and generating a report for your stakeholders or donors.    Ed Schipul and Rebecca Leven wrote a post Translating Data:  Making Sense of the Patterns that explains the importance of pattern recognition skills in the sense-making part of the measurement process and includes a nifty case study.

Once you’ve analyzed your data, you most likely will need to prepare some sort of report for your boss, your team, your board, or donors.  Lori Jacobwith’s  Sharing Boring Data?  What’s the Point? provides some great tips on combining dashboards with storytelling.    Vanessa Chase gives us some great recommendations in her post,  The Seemingly Impossible Task of Getting Your Donors To Care Without Boring Them To Death.

Measuring Specific Channels or Campaigns

The next set of posts discussed specific case studies or methods for measuring a particular marketing channel or campaign.


Cassie Bair, mGive, shares “How To Measure the Love in Your Mobile Communication Program

Annual Campaign

Donna Mehr, Smart Annual Giving, wrote “How To Evaluate the ROI of Your Annual Appeal.”

Advocacy Campaigns

Sheri Chaney Jones, President, Measurement Resources Company, presents tools for creating measurable objectives for nonprofit advocacy and communications in her “Measurable Roadmap for Success.

Social Media

Several posts were about how to measure social media, tips, case studies, or expert interviews.

A Peek Into PCMA Convening shares an infographic and data on the use of Twitter for an offline event by Bear Analytics

Tony Martignetti shared Measuring Online Engagement, an interview with yours truly.

How To Measure Your ROI on Social Media by Kierra Stein is based on her experience as a social media manager.

Big Data and Nonprofit Performance Measurement

There were several submissions on hot topics in the nonprofit measurement area these days – Big Data and Performance Measurement.

And while this month’s topic was on measuring marketing and communications strategies, there were some excellent posts on measurement methods for programs.  Ian David Moss from CreateEquity Blog, writes about how to combine traditional evaluation methods with business modeling techniques in “Fractured Atlas As Learning Organization” and Jeffrey Haguewood, SideKick Solutions, writes about Nonprofit Performance Measurement.

And there you have it!

February’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival is just around the corner and will be hosted by Marc Pittman, Fundraising Coach.  If you want to participate, check his post for the details.

The Nonprofit Blog Carnival happens each month. Sign up for reminders at http://eepurl.com/tbGNb. To learn more, check out What Is the Nonprofit Blog Carnival? and Nonprofit Blog Carnival Archives.



8 Responses

  1. Happy to contribute, Beth! Thanks for organizing us.

  2. […] great content on her blog. This month she collected blog pieces from other sources that discuss measurement and learning. We were honored to be one of her shared links. There is a lot of great content in this […]

  3. The article on How To Measure the Love in Your Mobile Communication program was particularly helpful. It’s nice to know that for your donors that prefer to receive text messages, sending more texts actually boosts the donation rate.

    That’s somewhat contrary to donors who prefer to be reached by snail mail or email. Combine that eagerness to receive text updates with a donor retention rate that’s double the average retention rate (85% to 41%) and nonprofits should be seriously looking to expand their mobile communications donor base in 2014.

  4. Such a great piece of article.

    Anyway, how can I contribute in your blog Beth?

  5. I agree that you need to set your goals. Aside from that, it is not just enough to set the goals. It is much better if the goals are measurable to make sure that it will be reached and not just only imagined.

  6. rc says:

    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum
    it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole
    thing. Do you have any suggestions for inexperienced
    blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  7. Beth says:

    Thanks so much for commenting RC. My advice is to start writing everyday and don’t let perfection get in the way. You’ll find your voice. Pick a focused topic area and st up a system for content curation. I’ve written a lot about this on my blog so check out those posts.

    Joelle, this was part of the a blog carnival for nonprofits. There is one every month hosted by different blog. Follow the links in the post and you’ll find out how to submit a post.

  8. Hmm great info about blog carnival measure for nonprofits, and I am agreed to Joelle that It is much better if the goals are measurable to make sure that it will be reached and not just only imagined.

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