Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine have written a book that is the essential 21st-century guide for non-profits using social media. Kanter, a long-time thought leader in the non-profit field, and Paine, a leader in measurement for organizational communications have combined their formidable skills to provide concrete case studies and actionable advice as to how non-profits measure the concrete results from their social change efforts.
Importantly, the authors first lay out the necessary leadership mindset that makes such measurement possible that includes attributes such as active participation, openness, decentralized decision-making, and collective action. They clearly describe the new dynamics of a network, rather than broadcast, communication model so that non-profits identify and participate in conversations where they are happening. Finally, they clearly explain the networked non-profit practices that, in addition to social media and mobile fluency, are necessary to execute an effective multi-channel strategy.
Leadership and organizational considerations such as these ultimately allow for the effective measurement of a non-profit’s impact as it evolves through four stages outlined by Kanter and Paine – Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly. The chart (above) shared in SSIR, lays out the indicators by which to measure all aspects of impact from internal organization to external engagement to social impact. It’s frameworks such as these that make this book so valuable because they give non-profits a structure through which to more effectively measure and manage their important work. And without coordinated measurement across all three areas, none can be individually optimized. As Kanter explains:
The biggest challenge with most nonprofits with integrating social media isn’t technology concerns. Cut through all the comments and issues, and what social media success typically boils down to is culture. Organizations that are risk-adverse, or don’t have a culture that is agile and nimble, may not be able to embrace best practices.
It’s this unique combination of internal cultural insights and comprehensive measurement expertise that makes Measuring the Networked Non-Profit such essential reading. In carefully describing the internal and leadership culture that a non-profit must create, they empower non-profit leaders to create an environment in which social media engagement can truly thrive. As the authors assert, such expertise starts with incremental learning and there is no better place to begin than with this book.