Elizabeth Dunn of Small Dots writes in The Only ROI is the ROI of Ice Cream that nonprofits can determine the ROI of a social web tool by using it to solve a problem that another tool isn't solving and to use the problem (i.e. lack of attendance, funding, volunteer recruiting) as a baseline to measure results.
She also feels that the the most immediate return on investment is internal, not external: "It's often felt most strongly in terms of professional development, and even empowerment, on the part of the individual staff member and the organization as a whole."
* number of friends * number of friend requests each day * number of visitors that visit your profile * number of members in a group * seeing if people in your group are discussing your organization and issues with others * amount of money raised online
David Collin of FI Space looks to how business is evaluating the effectiveness of the social web in, ROI of the Social Web, where he points to a McKinsey global survey of company marketers that evaluates how businesses are using the web for marketing. In a follow up post, More on the ROI, David references the post, Innovation Key for Social ROI that observes the importance of having, "a reciprocal connection between a marketer and a user to have a successful campaign."
"I could do an ROI report, convert to time spent, opportunities gained, and business won, but I think I'd be missing some of the point. Why? I already see an ROI in blogging, I don't need to measure, it's brought me so many friends, so many contacts, it would be silly to measure."
"There's a mentality shift required to fully engage with social networking and community content sites: sometimes, you have to let go
. . . . If you just need bodies at a rally, names on a petition or donations in your coffers, mobilizing through traditional means will work great. But if you need an active, educated and effective movement, organizing through social webs has the potential to create much more lasting change."
Thanks to everyone who participated!
Look for the next Net2ThinkTank question on Friday, November 2nd. If you have suggestions for Net2ThinkTank questions to ask the Net2Community, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org