7 ways to make measurement fun

Measurement isn’t enjoyable. Or is it? These ideas might change your mind.

I recently wrote about measurement malaise that keeps some nonprofits from putting a measurement strategy for their integrated communications campaigns into practice.

In the comments, I asked how we can make measurement fun. In response, Jono Smith said that was like asking how to make going to the dentist fun.

Whenever I talk about measurement at workshops, I immediately eyes glaze over unless they are member of the Spreadsheet Appreciation Society. HubSpot used this phrase in a job description:

“At HubSpot, we dream in graphs and our native tongue is Spreadsheet Speak. Our data might be the most metrically driven data you’ve seen. That’s right, we are metrics freaks. We measure EVERYTHING, all the time. If you are not part of the Spreadsheet Appreciation Society, you will not have a good time working at HubSpot. The right candidate will understand perfectly what we mean and will smile upon reading this bullet point.

Not everyone is born with this gene. Most people view measurement as a punishment, not something fun or valued.

Some ways to make measurement sexy include focusing on the results by celebrating them, or reporting them using visual humor. When I asked folks on Twitter, many people like Erica Mills suggested that we gamify it.

That made me think of Nicole Lazzaro’s Serious Fun Framework, and how you can use it to design reports:

Source: Nicole Lazzaro

On Facebook, I asked again how to make measurement fun. Here are some suggestions:

1. Celebrate small successes. L.P. Neenz suggested rewards. For example, if you get a higher conversion rate, go out for ice cream (or shaved ice if you’re in Hawaii).

2. Humanize the reporting. Don’t just report numbers—include the stories. Using personas or vignettes can make data come alive and make it more relevant.

3. Visual humor. Don’t just use numbers, bar charts and graphs. Use metaphors. John Haydon suggested a horse race. He added that it doesn’t have to be fancy—use a dry erase board.

4. Report the impact. Connect your numbers or reports to the impact of your nonprofit’s work. This can make everyone not only feel good about working for the organization, but maybe motivate some to fill those spreadsheets with meaningful data.

5. Cut the salami into smaller pieces. Don’t wait until the end to collect all of your data. Collect a little bit each month, GiveZooks suggests.

6. Create “Metrics the Musical.” Perhaps this was just a fun answer, but try reporting in song! I tried to find some interesting YouTube clips, and found that there is a metrics measurement song. Maybe we need to create playlist of “music to crunch data by.”

7. Make the report tactile. This would take too much time, but let people play with the data.

What’s the answer?

Focus on reporting the outcomes versus data and the data collection process. For example, if you tried to answer every data analysis question from Facebook Insights, you might exhaust yourself from generating too much “just in case” data.

Data is plentiful. What is more valuable is the reiterative process of looking at your data against your objectives, and revising your strategy, tactics or outcomes.

How have you made measurement fun? What are some creative ways that you have used metrics and measurement that everyone enjoyed?

Beth Kanter is co-founder and partner of Zoetica, and authors Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, where this article originally ran.

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