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Measuring the Success of Your Communications Strategy

The metrics that matter most are those that tell you if your communications strategy is helping you meet your organization’s overall goals. Yet, measuring that impact is complex and complicated. Your communications strategy exists to help audiences discover your organization and your work, participate in your programs and services, learn from the content you offer, and take action on issues.

What you measure should help you evaluate whether a particular strategy is effective and how you might improve it.

During the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference, Lauren Girardin, marketing and communications strategy consultant, and Shari Ilsen, director of engagement at VolunteerMatch, shared their advice for the kinds of metrics that nonprofits can meaningfully measure:

  • Activity Metrics. These metrics can help you better understand what you’re doing to implement your communications strategy. Activity metrics can help you evaluate your process of producing and sharing your messages, and whether you’re following through on your work plan and best practices.
  • Reach Metrics. These metrics can help you assess the size of your audience and whether it’s the right audience for your messages, so that you can understand who may potentially hear your messages. Be careful of putting too much emphasis on reach metrics, as on their own they don’t show a complete picture of your effectiveness.
  • Engagement Metrics. These metrics can help you understand the effect your communications messages are having on those that hear them. Engagement metrics are a measurement of when and how others engage with you. Audience interaction is required in these metrics.
  • Impact Metrics. These metrics are all about what you are really trying to achieve. Impact metrics help you measure the behaviors and attitudes you’ve shifted, the wrongs you’ve righted, and the actions you’ve inspired audiences to take.

With a thoughtful approach that keeps your goals and strategies in mind, your organization can successfully measure what matters.

As we celebrate our 36th year, NPT remains dedicated to supplying breaking news, in-depth reporting, and special issue coverage to help nonprofit executives run their organizations more effectively.