Happy Generosity Day! The idea of moving Valentine’s Day away from dinner reservations and singles awareness towards a day of generous acts began in 2011 by Sasha Dichter, Scott Case, Ellen McGirt, and Network for Good’s Katya Andresen. The premise is simple. Today, think about you can be generous and then…just…be generous.
My way of being generous is to share and facilitate sharing of knowledge about nonprofits effective use of social media and networks. Later today, I’ll be doing a webinar hosted by Hubspot called “I love Measurement.” I hope you’ll join me. (Check out their “Make Love, Not Spam e-book on how to get better results with email marketing) Here’s how many nonprofits are being generous and leveraging love!
That got me thinking about measurement and how you measure difficult stuff. During this week’s Measuring Networked Nonprofit events in Seattle that included fantastic conversations about measurement, data, and impact, I’ve been reflecting on the “too hard to measure.” Don’t give up or use that as an excuse.
I think about this quote: ”Anything can be measured in a way that is superior to not measuring it at all“ - Gilbs Law
Tom Gilb, an engineer and measurement guru. In his work, he suggests the process of describing something that is difficult to measure can help you get clear on what to measure. In Glib’s book, Scales of Measures: How To Quantify, he suggests:
You should learn the art of developing your own tailored scales of measure for the performance and resource attributes, which are important to your organization or system. You cannot rely on being ‘given the answer’ about how to quantify. You would soon lose control over your current vital concerns if you waited for that!.
His point that some intangible may be quantified, but it takes some discussion around the attributes. He gives an example of quantifying love (tongue and check)
Many nonprofits can easily identify success and results, but they have trouble linking that to their social media use – and finding the right metric that is meaningful to measuring progress. Think about this:
- Quantify the value of social media by identifying and translating the financial costs and benefits as related to your overall mission.
- Spend time brainstorming the “chain of events” of how your organization’s strategic use of social media can be a pathway to your organization’s overall definition of success or mission.
- Some benefits are intangible and difficult to quantify or may not be quantified or be able to show cause and effect. It is useful to focus on a “benefits discovery” session – without immediately jumping into the “prove it.” conversation and getting stuck. When attempting to quantify intangibles like engagement or learning, it is important to obtain consensus among decision-makers about what constitutes a meaningful measurement metric.
- It is important to allocate a team meeting time for a conversation to establish the chain, get agreement on the social media’s contribution to the mission or program improvement, and get on the same page about how what metric is meaningful.