Now That's A Spreadsheet! | Beth's Blog

Now That’s A Spreadsheet!


In the sequel movie  Crocodile Dundee 2, there is a great line when Mick Dundee visits the US and two guys try to rob him at knife point.    He pulls out his outback knife, which is three times larger and says,  “Now, that’s a knife!”     When Alison Carlman, unmarketing manager for Global Giving, shared her social media measurement spreadsheet during a peer learning session I’m facilitating for Packard Foundation grantees based on “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,”  I couldn’t  help but think, “Now That’s A Spreadsheet!”

Why is this such an awesome digital marketing/social media measurement spreadsheet?   The spreadsheet captures strategy, outcomes, tactics, and Key Performance Indicators or metrics.   This isn’t a bunch of metrics trivia disconnected from decision-making.     Global Giving uses a number of sophisticated metrics tools to collect metrics across channels, but that data is cleaned, organized, and summarized in this worksheet that sets up the team to make good decisions based on their data.    Be clear, a fancy program did not automate this dashboard – a human had to use a little elbow grease (approximately a couple hours of work) to assemble it, but the payback insights is well worth the effort.

Collecting data from free or paid measurement tools is easy.  And there is no lack of social media metrics tools!  The challenge is not finding the perfect metrics tool, but how you pull the right data into excel – and work with it to clean and organize it.   Analytics and monitoring tools are great at shoveling  data, lots of data, but to make sense of the data and glean valuable insights requires some additional work.  That works does not require genius level talent or root-canal-like pain.  It can start with thinking about how to best design your spreadsheet!

One caution to point out – as with any technology tool – you have to make sure that you are using it correctly.    My colleague, David Geilhufe, pointed out that 85% of spreadsheets contain errors.  That’s why it is a good idea to do what Rebecca Krause-Hardie does, “cross check totals and formulas.”

For the Packard Foundation “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit” peer learning group,  I’ve been collecting and curating spreadsheets from nonprofits that they use for social media, multi-channel digital campaigns – to both manage and measure.  It is much easier to start with a template and modify its design than start with a blank spreadsheet. But, I’ve been struggling with the best low-cost easy way to discover, curate, and share those spreadsheets more broadly.

This past month,  I’ve also been curious about Tumblr, having noticed that it is getting more attention from nonprofits.   Tumblr blogs are very focused on a topic and the best ones border on being a little bit nerdy and obsessive.And, viola – the perfect learning project for Tumblr!     A tumblr blog called “Now That’s A Spreadsheet.”      The Tumblr blog showcases examples of nonprofit spreadsheets for online integrated strategies including social media management and measurement.   You can download the actual spreadsheet too.

Have an awesome spreadsheet for social media measurement or management or more multi-channel campaigns?   Please tell me about it in the comments and your spreadsheet (without the data), could be featured in “Now That’s A Spreadsheet!”

13 Responses

  1. Hi Beth,
    You may want to check your links for “Now That’s a Spreadsheet.” Sylvia

  2. OMG! This is awesome! Thanks so much, just saved me about a weeks worth of work and well, to be honest, even if I had committed to doing these for a week mine would not have been so nicely organized.

  3. Esther says:

    Hey Beth,

    I have an excel template I’m really proud of, but it doesn’t have anything to do with social media.

    One of our program managers trains a number of volunteers to talk to the public for 3 shifts. There are several weekend days that each have 2-3 shifts. Of course volunteers have preferences and requests for when and where they are scheduled.

    I made a spreadsheet that allows the program manager to look at all the data on one page to schedule everyone, with a couple of built-in functions to prevent double scheduling or over/under scheduling (conditional formatting and dropdown lists). Then (and this is the part I’m really proud of) the second tab is a printer friendly calendar that automatically populates with the appropriate names once you select the site from a dropdown menu.

    If you were interested in sharing this template on your tumblr so that other nonprofits could use it, I would have to write up a bit on how to change it without breaking it but I would be happy to do that.

    My coworker Erin and I are huge spreadsheet geeks and are very excited about your tumblr!

  4. Beth Kanter says:

    Hi Sylvia: I tested all the links and they are work. What link did you have a problem with?

  5. Beth Kanter says:

    Esther: Would love to see your spreadsheet .. please do share..

  6. Barbara Clements says:

    Just interested in why you used the “F” word in the address. I was ready to share your blog with some other organizations, but will now be very careful on how I share the link and with whom. I will only be able to share it in online communications because no way will I put it printed handouts.

  7. Karen Buck says:

    Love the Tumblr – and I think the URL is the perfect, irreverent approach for that platform. Only missing ingredient is animation, LOL!

  8. Beth Kanter says:

    Karen: did you say animated spreadsheets – wohoo

  9. Beth says:

    Barbara: If you read the posts about Tumblr, that name in the URL is part of the culture of the Tumblr community – and this blog is part Tumblr experience.

    With that said, I created a respectable URL for you with a customizable link

  10. Barbara Clements says:

    Thanks for explaining that. I am just beginning to work with some local nonprofits on social media. Tumblr is now at the bottom of my getting-to-know list. This is Bible Belt country and that kind of community culture would not work for the local nonprofits.

  11. Beth says:

    Barbara: Thanks so much for your insight here .. and its interesting how it all gets back to audience. With that said, the swear words in the title are not the entire culture, but the spreadsheet topic tends to attract nerds who are okay with swearing. With that said, there might be some appropriate sub-communities of tumblr blogs that are appropriate for communities. But it gets back to the questions of what’s your goal and who is the audience you want to reach …

  12. Seina Sourn says:

    Hey Beth! I want to learn spreadsheet from you. how will I do.

  13. Samantha says:

    Hi Beth,

    Edyfying stuff about spreadsheet. I believe spreadsheet will always be back bone for most enterprises in near future. I would like to know your thoughts about the spreadsheet evolution