Study: For nonprofits, a silver lining regarding PR metrics

Despite familiar challenges, a compilation of results from five surveys reveals that support from top leaders and an array of new tools can clear away the clouds hanging over measurement.

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Nonprofit PR measurement

Despite many obstacles, nonprofits can improve their measurement and evaluation processes.

Although most nonprofit PR departments lack the resources of for-profit businesses, most enjoy support from their organizations’ leaders, says a new study from the Institute for Public Relations. They also have sophisticated PR measurement methods and tools at their disposal.

The IPR research synthesized existing findings from five recent surveys and analyzed content of 15 years of nonprofits’ reports. Here are three key findings:

1. A disparity exists in nonprofits’ PR measurement practices.

Although 92% of nonprofit organizations measure their work, fewer (71%) measure their communications.

Communicators at nonprofits tend to measure metrics that focus on output, or how many mentions they achieved, rather than attitude changes, such as their impact on financial and strategic results. Favorite metrics include social media engagement (retweets and “likes”), website activity, social media mentions, and traditional media placements.

Nonprofits conduct more quantitative research than qualitative research; the bigger the organization is, the more qualitative and quantitative research organization conducts.

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