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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ROI: Can You Quantify the Untangible? You Can't Quantify Love (or can you?):

» Social Media: Distributed Influence Quantifying the Impact of Social Media - A New White Paper from Edelman from Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media
Screencapture from Jonny Bentwood's White Paper on measuring influence. Dave Webb answered my musings about quantifying the intangible with a pointer to this report and observation, I have always had a problem forcing something that is organic by natur... [Read More]

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Priscilla

I don't have an example to share, however I do agree that ROI isn't just about the numbers (bearing in mind that the "investment" in ROI can be investments other than money, e.g. time).

Generally, advocacy organisations deal with this frequently. How do you measure what impact your organisation has on the attitudes of the general public, for example? In addition, if a change in attitude does occur, how do you know that it was *your* organisation that brought about that change? I think this is one reason why advocacy organisations have a disproportionately large take-up of social media: they are used to doing work that doesn't have tangible benefits and therefore feel more comfortable doing it.

Best of luck with your presentation Beth :) I think your example of quantifying love is an excellent example to use!

Beth Kanter

Couldn't resist the Beatles song.

But your comment makes think of ROI tolerance as part of the organization's culture. Maybe advocacy .orgs are less risk tolerant?

Rolf Kleef

Hi Beth, have you seen work on "social return on investment"? The New Economics Foundation has an interesting publication on how they do that at: http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/z_sys_PublicationDetail.aspx?PID=241

That's not a concrete example, I don't think I have one :-) it usually still boils down to measuring a couple of outcomes as indicators for possible impacts, without quantifying or valuating those impacts.

And I agree with "Gilb's Law": measuring helps. It's not so much about making sense of numbers, but about making sense of how you understand the world you work in, and making assumptions and beliefs explicit.

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