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media monitoring & measurement for nonprofitsLike for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations can gain substantial benefits by monitoring the wealth of data available from both traditional and social media sources.

Locating positive media coverage can demonstrate the impact of marketing and public relations work. Identifying negative media articles and social media posts allows nonprofits to swiftly respond and resolve issues.

“Nonprofits that keep their ears perked by employing listening devices are well-poised to strategically respond to what others are saying about your organization,” explains Cecilia Bianco for Prichard Communications. “Online ‘listening’ can refer to a number of tactics—social media monitoring, target audience analysis or key message penetration—but we find that monitoring media coverage is one of the most effective tools for listening to what others are saying.”

The Value of Media Measurement

Media measurement does more than report mentions of a nonprofit’s name. Media measurement can:

  • Reveal how many people discuss your key issues, measure sentiment surrounding those conversations, and track trends in mentions and sentiment.
  • Show how well audiences understand your issues and gauge their level of awareness.
  • Track what media outlets and bloggers say about the organization, its leadership and cause to help nonprofits improve and protect their online reputations.
  • Determine what type of content works best and the best channels for communications.
  • Reveal what inspires people to donate or volunteer.

How Nonprofits Benefit from Media Monitoring and Measurement

Nonprofits gain the full value of media monitoring and measurement by following a proven process.

Monitor broad issues. Many nonprofits track only mentions of their organizations. Monitoring broad issues related to your cause can reveal deeper insights. Using Boolean search techniques can locate specific results and eliminate irrelevant results – it’s not as difficult as the name implies.

Establish objectives. Set clear objectives against which to measure results. These may include the number of donors, donor retention, fundraising amounts, the number of volunteers and volunteer retention.

Connect goals to actions. Establish a connection between the nonprofit’s mission and its marketing and PR activities before starting a measurement program. “Far too few nonprofit communicators take the time to make the connection between their efforts and the mission before they embark on a measurement program. When you do, the results are powerful,” writes PR measurement expert Katie Paine, CEO of Paine Publishing, in her blog the Measurement Advisor.

Consider your stakeholders. Nonprofits have many stakeholders, including donors, volunteers, sponsors, employees, and the people they serve. Design the monitoring and measurement program to seek insights that meet the different interests those diverse groups of stakeholders.

Metrics. Select at least three specific metrics for analyzing various categories of communications including email, marketing, public relations and social media, Paine advises. Select metrics that are quantifiable, with a number such as an amount of money or percentage that can be compared to another number such as past performance or competitors. It’s also critical to include a date when the goal will be achieved.

Control costs. Paid monitoring services offer distinct advantages over free services. However, nonprofits face unique pressure to keep expenses down. Nonprofits can control costs by working with a monitoring service that offers month-to-month agreements rather than one that binds them into long-term contracts. In addition, selecting vendors that can customize their services to the nonprofit’s needs can help the organization avoid paying for unneeded services.

Bottom Line: Media monitoring alerts nonprofits when they are mentioned in traditional media and social media. However, media measurement provides more powerful benefits. By analyzing media data, nonprofits can find the best strategies for encouraging people to donate and volunteer.