Tag - Monitor Institute

How Fortressy Are We?
Disruption : Evolving Models of Engagement and Support
KaBOOM! Goes Social
Working Wikily Blog Up

How Fortressy Are We?

I came across this wonderful quiz from Rich Harwood he developed for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (a notorious fortress!) The model highlights the difference between inward facing organizations and outward facing ones:

Certainly rings familiar to us folks who have been researching, writing, and talking for a few years on ways to help organizations transition from traditional command and control models to networks. It reminded of the Working Wikily model the Monitor Institute developed a few years ago of how networks work.

I’ve been thinking there might be a pre-step to Rich’s model. I was asked a few month’s ago whether I could develop a list of questions a group could ask itself to see how “fortressy” they were. So, here’s a start, I need to think more about how to score the answers to these questions, so open to help from you all on that.

How Fortressy Are We?

  • How comfortable is senior management with staff speaking as themselves on social media channels?

Not a chance! They’ll let one or two people speak for us. They’re starting to let more people communicate. We’re all on the channels.

  • How often do you hear the phrase, “That isn’t professional behavior” in your organization?

Every hour! Every day. Most days. Almost never. Absolutely never, but we don’t wear shoes, either.

  • Your communications about your organization focus on how unique and successful you are.

Of course, we have to raise money. Usually, our board expects it. Sometimes. Not often. Never.

  • How concerned are you in revealing your decision-making to the world?

Very concerned, somewhat, a little, not much, not at all.

  • What do we do when someone criticizes us?

Freak out! Call in the crisis management people. Spend a day worrying about it. Let the intern respond. Has someone criticized us?

  • Are your measures of success based largely on the number of people who participate in our efforts?

Of course! Largely. Evenly split with other measures. We never count heads or beds. Who measures success (don’t tell anyone)?

Let me know what you think of the questions/measures and what you would add or delete.




Disruption : Evolving Models of Engagement and Support

The Monitor Institute released a very interesting study – and the best news about it isn’t that it isn’t a report! Instead, a slide deck, and only 25 of those, and the last few are mainly thank yous!

This is a study of membership-based advocacy organizations. You know these organizations, they’re old time advocacy groups, created in the last century and in many ways working the same ways they always have. One eye-opening sentence in the report is this., “These organizations recognize the need to innovate and experiment with new social media but direct mail, email, and website remain the most effective tools for fundraising. The expense of direct mail is going up, the yield rate is going down, but there is no replacement strategy.”

But there is no replacement strategy…..

That’s where the disruption comes in. The replacement strategies will be fueled by social media. Not social media alone, but in concert with on land events, get togethers, coffees, concerts, etc. It is the end of the road for transactional organizations.

Here are Monitor’s conclusions:

  • In this time of disruption, transition and experimentation, member-based advocacy organizations are concurrently using mainstream media and new social media to communicate with members. This is sometimes confusing, often exhausting and only modestly successful.
  • The new demographic has new demands. The benefits of traditional membership are not adequate to engage Millenials and inspire them to give.
  • Respondents  view mainstream media as more effective for engaging their members as well as for fundraising.
  • Integrating online and offline activities continues to be a challenge.
  • Respondents recognize the need to innovate in fundraising but continue to expect and rely on foundation funding for upwards of 30% of their budgets, even as they expect their budgets to grow.
  • The model is inevitably shifting from direct mail to online, but no one has yet mastered new media tools for engagement or fundraising.
  • The past and the future are vying for attention and resources. It is a time of disruption and experimentation.

KaBOOM! Goes Social

Katherine Fulton and Heather McLeod Grant of the Monitor Institute have written a fantastic case study about an extraordinary organization, Kaboom!, and its efforts to scale its programs.

Darrell Hammond started KaBOOM! in 1996 with $20,000. Today KaBOOM! has 81 employees and an annual budget of close to $20 million. After steady growth for years, Darrell and his team were frustrated that they really hadn’t scaled their efforts as much as they hoped.

They began to reconsider the barriers to scaling their efforts and made a critical decision to lose control. This is one of the key issues we explore in The Networked Nonprofit. The need for organizations to overcome their fear of letting go of their people, processes and materials.

KaBOOM! like many organizations felt that the pathway to success and growth was holding on tight to its programs, processes and people. They needed to control the KaBOOM! process from soup to swings entirely to ensure that they could maintain quality and get credit for the effort – they thought.

But it wasn’t true. Once KaBOOM! learned to let go, trust people in their networks to use their materials and processes well they became friction-free, able to scale their efforts faster and with fewer resources than before. And letting go felt good.

Here are the seven lessons that KaBOOM! learned as a result of letting go:

  1. Keep it simple and concrete.
  2. Treat your online strategy as mission-critical.
  3. Build your own technical competency.
  4. Nurture your online community via its leaders.
  5. Create incentives for action.
  6. Give up credit to increase your impact.
  7. Care more about real-world outcomes than online metrics.

Download the case study and give a read (Full disclosure: Beth and I commented on a draft of the paper), I’d love to hear what your organization thinks about losing control.


Working Wikily Blog Up


A few months back the Monitor Institute and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation released the paper, “Working Wikily“.  It’s a terrific overview for philanthropic efforts of working in connected way — I highly recommend it.

This week, the Monitor Institute launched a blog to further develop the ideas of collaborative, networked philanthropic action called, naturally, the Working Wikily Blog!  It’s a very thoughtful place and one of the few areas that I’ve seen dedicated to figuring out ow to activate and measure social networks for social change.


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