Why Measuring the Networked Nonprofit is a Must-Read

December 18th, 2012 | Shonali Burke | 9 Comments

measuring the networked nonprofitWhat happens when the doyenne of the nonprofit world and the queen of measurement decide to write a book together?

You get Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, an absolute gem of a book not just for nonprofit communicators, but for all measurement geeks (and most certainly for nonprofit executives).

Disclosure: before I go any further, you should know that I was asked to participate in a peer review process of the book while it was still in manuscript form, and I was paid a small honorarium for my time. Upon publication, Katie gave me a signed copy of the book (I still have to get Beth to sign it!), but I have received no other compensation of any form.

Frankly, just the fact that the book is the product of Kanter/Paine should make you go buy it. If you’re interested in the world of social good and how to measure it, that is.

But if you need a few more reasons, here are 10:

1. Rob Cottingham‘s cartoons that are kick off each chapter are laugh-out-loud hilarious. As a side benefit of reading this post and buying the book, you should also subscribe to his blog.

Here’s just one of the cartoons in the book (and thanks to Beth Kanter, from whose site I grabbed it):

measuring social media influence... or under it?

2. There is a picture of a cute dog on the second page of the book. The second page!

3. The case studies are terrific, including the American Red Cross, MomsRising, and DoSomething.org.

4. Beth and Katie don’t preach to you, they tell you stories. And the stories are engrossing.

5. My precious Blue Key campaign is a featured case study. Yeah!

6. It has pearls of wisdom like this one:

“The most important thing to remember about measurement tools is that they will do only what you tell them to do. Collecting data is easy but collecting the right data to answer your questions requires careful planning and appropriate tools.”

7. It tells you how a networked nonprofit works, and what you can do to get there… and why measurement is at the center of successful NNs.

8. It brings a different perspective to influence measurement and how “free agents are nonprofits’ uber-influentials.”

9. The appendices are chockfull of checklists and tools.

10. It is only when you start measuring the right things to inform your decision making and strategy that you have a hope in Hades of reaching your goals. Beth and Katie drive this point home very effectively, yet in a most conversational way.

I really, really like this book. I know I gave you a book recommendation just yesterday, but remember how I said there are three books I’ve been repeatedly recommending when I’ve been out speaking and teaching this year?

Well, this is the second one. So please, go buy Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. You’ll laugh, think hard, and be inspired to kick off your own experiments in measurement.

Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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@ShellyKramer @shonaliooh, thank you Shelly! I need this.


Did you say you were paid a small fortune to review this?

I'm on the board of 3 non-profits; maybe I better check this out, huh? 



Thank you so much for the review of our book - and also for the peer review and sharing your wisdom about measurement.


@sunlander Thanks for sharing!

Shonali moderator

@BethKanter It was absolutely my pleasure, thank you for asking me! I can't tell you how honored i was to participate, and then to see the wonderful way in which the book turned out - it's just heartwarming. You and Katie are amazing treasures, Beth, thank you for all you do! Right @askdebra @jdlasica @pierreloic @lmeling ?


  1. [...] Katie has co-authored with another of my faves, Beth Kanter, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit (here’s my review of the [...]