Archive for the ‘Metrics and Analytics’ Category

Tackling the Data-Driven Funding Challenge — a New Skill for Nonprofit Managers

In Metrics and Analytics on September 1, 2010 at 8:32 am
Source: Ervin Bartis on flickr

Can you measure your mission? Many nonprofits are being asked to provide metrics of success in order to keep and attract donations and funding.         

 But it’s not exactly clear how to do this. According to a working paper posted in July to Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge site by faculty members Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan:          

The social sector is in the midst of a search for metrics of impact. Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in methodologies and tools for assessing social performance and impact, but with little systematic analysis and comparison across these approaches.          

When it comes to fundraising and donors, it’s no longer enough for non-profit organizations to talk about the relative value of their mission, activities, and results. Funders are comparison-shopping, and they want to know that their gifts will deliver more bang-for-the-buck if contributed to one organization versus another.          

As a sign of this bottom-line orientation, foundations increasingly speak of their contribution “portfolios” using terms borrowed from the financial industry — and nonprofit staffs are under pressure to develop their analytical capacity.          

According to a 2009 article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy:       

The absence of common standards means that investors can’t compare the social and environmental benefits of different investment opportunities.       

The Rockefeller Foundation is working with Acumen Fund, B Lab, Deloitte, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers to develop the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards taxonomy. Work has also begun on a Global Impact Investing Ratings System (GIIRS), which will look at how third-party ratings systems can be developed and aggregated under IRIS.       

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal underscores the need:       

Many potential donors worry that charities will waste their money. Measuring the impact charities have on the problems they seek to solve—and, in some cases, deciding whether one cause is more deserving than another—has become a pressing issue for the multitrillion-dollar philanthropy industry.       

Read my entire post on The Scholarly Kitchen


Measuring Up: Gaining Customer Insight vs. Getting Lost in Business Complexity

In Metrics and Analytics on May 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

Read my complete post on The Scholarly Kitchen. Excerpts:   

Say goodbye to the days of shipping a hardback in a paper wrapper, cashing a check, and heading to the pub. Today, when content is parsed and customized for dissemination in various formats, to numerous devices, and through disparate partner channels, business analytics, assessment, and competitive analysis are (or should be) the modus operandi.   

As a colleague aptly summarized, “once we had readers, now we have users.”  The digital publishing business is a quickly becoming a content + tools = service business. This brings with it a new requirement to more completely comprehend end-user behaviors, wants, and needs.   

"Article-level metrics at PLoS" by dullhunk on flickr


Given the volume of experimentation in the information industry, it’s prime time to ground your business operations by establishing extensible processes that allow for routine evaluation of trends in information output, input, and throughput — not indiscriminately, but closely tied to the particulars of our content and mission.   

If you’re new to the service arena, it’s important to invest in understanding who your customers are (and will be in future), what is essential versus “nice to have,” and how behavior aligns with preferences to establish a use case.   

If seeking new ways to monetize your content, it’s not too soon to peer around corners and establish internal and external expectations that foster clarity and reinforce strategic capabilities despite an increase in business complexity.   

Having the capacity to centralize information from diverse platforms and channels is of greater value than ever to digital information businesses — and will set the stage for the next phase of growth.   

Read more.   

For those interested in joining a live discussion, Ann Michael and I will be conducting a session with Chris Beckett, VP of Business Development at Atypon; Mike Sweet, CEO of Credo Reference; and Marc Segers from iFactory  about digital reference monetization, networked data models, device use, and the underpinnings of a 360-degree customer view at the SSP Annual Meeting, June 2-4 in San Francisco.