Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Does Your Nonprofit Organization Have Measurement Malaise?.   A reposting from the fabulous Beth’s Blog

Malaise is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, of being “out of sorts.” Lately, I’ve been hearing about “measurement malaise” infecting nonprofits and not just social media measurement. Maybe it is the feeling that measurement requires data collection and that will cause even more information overload and why we put the task on the organizational back burner.

Can you be an effective grassroots nonprofit organization in 21st century without a robust integrated social media and mobile strategy and measurement strategy? Idealware looked into this question about nonprofits and Facebook as well as other questions in its recent research study, Using Facebook to Meet Your Mission: Results of a Survey, available for free download with registration and discussed at free webinar on June 16 at 1 PM PST.. The survey looked at nonprofit’s self-reported results, goals, time investment, and measurement approaches for Facebook, although I wonder if you can really answer the big picture question without looking at how nonprofits use Facebook in the context of an integrated strategy and good measurement practice benchmarking study.

Idealware Study

The Idealware survey asked participants if they measure results from Facebook. Their categories were based on whether or not the respondent was using a specific measurement tool like Facebook Insights or Google Analytics. Respondents that names tools were labled as “substantial.’ However it is hard to know whether or not if someone simply mentions the name of a tool whether or not they are using it appropriately to measure their results. The telling statistic is here is that 47% are not doing any measurement! More than half (53 percent) of survey respondents indicated measurement of some kind, while just 26 percent reported a “substantial” measurement plan. Of those respondents who reported a substantial measurement plan, almost 40 percent also reported some kind of tangible positive outcome of using Facebook, compared to less than 25 percent of those who were not measuring at all.

The survey also reports that over 60 percent of respondents who reported “substantial measurement” were still not seeing a positive impact from Facebook. This has more to do with their specific strategy and measurement practice rather than their use of the measurement tools. As measurement guru KD Paine says, you need the right measurement tool for the job – identify SMART objectives, pick metrics, and then your tool.

It made me curious about what keeps nonprofits from measuring integrated social media campaigns and why measurement often gets pushed to the backburner. Here’s a summary a responses from my Facebook Page.

1. Doing or Creating is More Fun Than Measurement: People are more likely to build instead of measure even if they are building on a fault line. Creating is more appealing then analysis to most. How can create a culture of fun around measurement so that we can’t keep ourselves from doing it from the beginning of a project.

2. Measurement Analytics Paralysis: There so much out there – from infographics to factoids to market research studies to endless tools we could use to measure our social media that we’ve become junkies of consuming analytics data for the sake of consuming analytics and playing with analytics tools. The line between where the data analysis stops and the real work begins gets blurry. Do we stop and ask if it is useful? Do we try to get data in small, digestible bytes and reflect on what it means? Maybe it is more fun to get lost in the lastest chart and graph we can generate in our social media analytics tool, but how can we harness our addiction to data to create more insight? One solution is to set aside a small block of time to think about the data, maybe a “Metrics Monday” as my colleagues at Momsrising do. We all need to be curators of our analytics data.

3. Fear: What We Might Learn: What if we discover that our campaign didn’t get the results we thought it would or even worse, that our precious time was wasted. Many nonprofit social media mavens are proud of their work, may be challanged to find things that truly capture the impact. Are we afraid that measurement will provide data for someone in our organization to say “social media is waste of time.” Or maybe we just don’t want to learn from failure and are not prepared to give something a joyful funeral or tweak it for success. Learning from failure is like compost – while it might stink at first, it gets valuable over time. It is also important to also learn from our successes in the event they happened by accident.

4. Rational Expections for Outcomes: It is more than setting SMART objectives which takes some focus. You have to put a flag in the sand and articulate what your outcome will be, whether grand or modest. You also have step away from your overloaded to do list and clarify. I’m also reminded of a quote from Michelangelo, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it but that it is too low and we reach it.” SMART objectives and a measurement plan are not a report card! They are guide posts for improvement.

5. Picking the Right Metrics: Understanding the right metrics to use to measure your results, without defaulting to “measure everything” because more data is better or getting distracted by bogus and meaningless metrics. Here’s where I think the AMEC Valid Metrics Grids will be very useful. And, we have to be comfortable to just saying now and understand that we can measure to our capacity! Why not think about scaffolding what you measure? Strategically add metrics to your dashboard — sort of like trainng for marathon. Less is more.

6. Balance of Reflection and Action: Taking the time to clarify what you’re measuring might kill the excitement of experimentation and doing it – and that initial learning. But you can only dabble for so long – and to get to real results, you need a game plan for measuring. The problem is using measurement planning as an excuse not to experiment and learn with social media or mobile or as Jessica Dailey says, “If you are spending more time quantifying your relationships then you’re spending nurturing your relationships you’re doing it wrong in both life and social media.” There is the fun wild experimentation phase, but as practice matures you need a measurement strategy.

7. Measurement Is Expensive and Exhausting: The notion that the only valid measurement is done by highly trained specialists or that for the data to be valid it takes a lot of data collection and time – that many nonprofits simply don’t have. IF done in-house, staff view it as more work and the results of measuring is only as good as the input and if there’s no input, or sparse input it won’t tell us anything.

Does your organization have measurement malaise? What does it look like? More importantly, what’s the cure?

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Games for Change

Posted: June 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

One of my favorite websites right now is Games for Change http://www.gamesforchange.org/ I don’t know if my review of this sight is very objective because I love all things gaming. But I believe that there is a great opportunity for using a computer/video game model for teaching about larger social issues. And Games for Change, through the services it offers to nonprofits and game designers, its annual designers contest and Festival, and conferences and seminars, does just that. It also offers a free toolkit that helps individuals and nonprofits outline their game ideas, learning goals and planning and implementation tools.

Games for Change Arcade – Games for Change houses over 70 games that address current social issues that have been designed by individuals, students, nonprofits and international relief agencies. The website game channels include human rights, economics, public policy, public health, poverty and environment.

Some of my favorite games:

Against All Odds: Against All Odds lets players experience what it’s like for people who have to leave their home country and start life in a new country. The game shows the difficulties navigating the international re-settlement experience. http://www.playagainstallodds.com/

Executive Command: I like this game, especially as we watch our first African American President struggle with his legacy as he deals with one economic crisis after another and military intervention in multiple countries. This game gives you the opportunity to try your hand at being President, with all the power and pitfalls. http://www.filamentgames.com/node/463

InterroBang?!: I really like this game because it gives students around the world the a real mission to accomplish. Their participation in this problem-solving game can lead to winning prizes and challenges them to make positive improvements in their communities. http://playinterrobang.com/

World Food Programme Games – As an international social justice organization, World Food Programme has been in the forefront of using games to increase awareness of hunger throughout the world. One of the first games I became aware of was Free Rice. In this game, with every quiz question you answer correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to fight hunger. Other games are also available for students and teachers to learn more about the issues of hunger. http://www.wfp.org/students-and-teachers/students/fun-and-learn

 

As I have been spending some time writing about online collective community action, when I received the lastest from Beth’s Blog, I just knew I had to repost the content here….

Can Collective Community Action Lead To Fundraising Success? | Beth’s Blog.

In April, the Knight Foundation and Monitor Institute published a new report called “Connected Citizens” that looks at the impact of networks on communities, and asks, what do these emerging networks mean for community change?

The report was filled with examples, but more and more are coming to life everyday. And, with resources like “Like Minded” that facilitate the fast sharing of best practices, we’re bound to see more.

Here’s one:

ACTion Alexandria is an online civic engagement initiative with three main goals

Create a vibrant online platform that inspires offline action, where challenges are posted, solutions are debated, successes and failures are archived, data is both disseminated and captured, stories are shared, and essential civic relationships developed.
Improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable residents in a cost-efficient manner through a platform that provides everyone a voice and the opportunity to identify problems and offer solutions.
Engage residents and business people in problem solving to strengthen community ties and increase each individual’s stake in creating positive outcomes for specific community problems.
But, what happens when you pair a connected citizenry with social fundraising?

ACTion Alexandria’s social fundraising initiative, “Spring2ACTion,” raised $104,156 in donations and matching grants for 47 participating nonprofits. The effort, held May 5-7 encouraged Alexandria citizens to donate using a variety of Razoo’s social fundraising tools from Facebook and Twitter outreach to emails and website widgets. (Disclaimer: Razoo is a Zoetica client)

Social fundraising is the practice of using person to person online media to solicit online donations. In all, 1265 citizens donated to the causes during Spring2ACTion, almost one percent of Alexandria City’s 150,000 person population. The average donation was $59, and the frequency of donations increased each day of the initiative. Twenty five percent of the donations were $10 gifts.

Does a fundraising campaign simply happen by itself or are there core organizers who help with lift off? How much collective fundraising is magic or just happens versus having a strong group of organizers behind it? I’m also curious about the role of Free Agent fundraisers or in this context “Militant Optimists” what does it take to be successful?

What you think?


One of my favorite sites that I have used for over 10 years is the amazing  Free Management Library,    updated and maintained by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. The Library provides free, easy-to-access, online articles covering over 650 topics with over 10,000 links. What I like about the Library is that there are articles for the individual’s professional growth and also provides articles and resources to both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Library Content

I really like how the Library focuses on free resources and information that you can quickly use and apply to your work. The Library topics are soup to nuts for professional and personal development…covering Jobs, Facilitation, Work-Life Balance, and Problem-Solving, to mention a few. The Library also has a wealth of resources that address Organizational Development, Starting a Non-profit, Fundraising and Employee Management & Development. The Library also has an extensive list of blogs hosted by experts in each topic with opportunities for posts from guest writers. Again, the blogs are practical in nature, focusing on tools and tips. The other piece of the Library I like is the list of Free Management Training Programs, which provides links to free, online training programs that provide free materials and ways to confirm your learning.

So you get an idea of extensive the Library is, I have provided one of the topic lists for Fundraising:

Fundraising Basics
Are You Ready for Fundraising?
Fundraising Laws and Ethics
Fundraising Leadership: Board, Development Directors and Others
Development Staff: Defining, Hiring, Evaluating and Firing)
Direct Appeals
Grants: Foundation and Corporate
Grants: Government (Public Grants)
Special Events
Annual Funds
Major Gifts and Planned Giving
Capital Campaign and Endowment Fundraising
Fundraising Online (including social media, online malls, corporations that accept online proposals)
Fundraising Software
Donor Communications, Feedback and Recognition
Fundraising Planning (Tying It All Together)
Hiring Fundraisers and Paid Solicitors

General Resources
Library’s Fundraising Blog

Additional Resources
Free, Online, Self-Paced Program to Completely Build/Strengthen Your Nonprofit
Basic Guide to Nonprofit Program Design and Marketing
Nonprofit Grantseeking Resources


Welcome to internetmine

Posted: April 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

I am officially addicted to my ability to mine the internet for resources to support social justice causes. As a past director of small and/or struggling nonprofits who wanted to spend their limited funds on actually advancing their cause, I found it necessary to research and use free or low cost resources on the Internet.  From databases to research, from grant seeking to online fundraising…you can do it all with most of the resources on the Internet.  We need to resist the urge to follow the huge nonprofits spending thousands of dollars on Adobe, Razor’s Edge and expensive media use and production software.  For those of us with limited budgets, we can still make a huge impact with free software.

The other area small nonprofits can save money is on training materials, presentations on their cause for community members, and research on their cause to support their grant and fund development efforts.  The resources at fingertips on the internet can keep us informed, educated and trained in the most research-based methods for delivering our programs.

My hope is that this website will help motivate you to find your own resources and mine the internet.  In the meantime, I will share with you some of my favorites.