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How to measure and evaluate the communication of nonprofit organizations? What is the benefit of the collected data for a proof of impact and what potential for optimisation of communication work can be generated?
Mixed-method survey: synthesis of results from five international online surveys from 2015-2017 and content analysis of annual reports of 230 non-profit organisations from 15 years
The relevance of performance measurement and evaluation for the successful implementation of organisational goals is also undisputed in non-profit organisations. Over 90% of the NGOs surveyed collect and analyse data on their activities.
For the sub-area of communication measurement, however, the assessment of the present study brings to light the relative importance of this issue:
In order to measure the success of communication, the NGOs surveyed primarily collected values on the outcome level - especially in the area of social media - and for outflow:
According to the PR experts interviewed, the data collected was used:
The biggest hurdles in the implementation of communication evaluation in non-profit organisations are the lack of time, money and know-how
In view of the scope and complexity of the subject area, the author recommends cooperation with external analysts and experts.
The results of this broad-based study focusing on non-profit organisations add an interesting perspective to the surveys on the relevance and implementation of communication evaluation.
Unfortunately, the large number of sources used makes it difficult to read and compare the individual results. The potential for optimisation announced in the introduction with regard to a more targeted use of the data obtained is also somewhat meagre. The author also relies on the rather old and incomplete Lindemann's 2012 model for the collection of KPIs at various levels of impact. We have "translated" the findings into the FREP's frame of reference in order to make them easier to understand.
It is astonishing to note that there is a certain amount of catching up to do when measuring communication success compared to other areas of NGO organization. Far less data is collected and analysed here. In addition, less than half of the PR professionals in NGOs focus on specific indicators. Non-profit institutions in particular depend on effective communication to activate their target groups, to prove that funds are being used for the intended purpose and to acquire sponsors and supporters.
Two practical examples cited in the study are a valuable addition. They clearly show the potential of communication measurement and evaluation, if it is used beyond the mere impact measurement rather predictively for a strategic optimization of communication activities.
April 2019: Institute for Public Relations; Jungkyu Rhys Lim
More information on the survey: Nonprofits' Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation