Non-Profit organisations ask for help to become communications measurement savvy – AMEC identifies barriers to help the conversion

New research from the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) shows that lack of staff, money, time and even organisational differences, are the top barriers why some non-profit organisations do not measure their communications programmes.

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However, Non-Profit communications professionals said their senior leadership would start to value measurement more if they had access to a free measurement tool and access to expert advisors.

The research, conducted by Braun Research Inc., for AMEC’s Non-Profit Group was set up to discover how frequently non-profit communications professionals are currently measuring and evaluating their activities, the importance placed on this and any barriers they face.

The AMEC research found that the top barriers to measuring and evaluating communications more frequently were “lack of staff/people to do the work” (52%) and “lack of money/budget” (47%). About one-third (32%) also believe their organisation simply does not have a culture of using research and measurement in their work.

The research found that availability of a free measurement framework (68%), access to data from around the world that proves how successful Non-Profits are prioritizing measurement (55%) and access to a group of people who can advise them on “metrics that matter” (57%) would be the key drivers of change and would convince the C-Suite to invest in communications measurement.

Eileen Sheil, Co-Chair of the AMEC Non-Profit Group, ‎Executive Director, Corporate Communications, Cleveland Clinic, said: “What is positive about this research study is that it gives us information on which to act.

We now know from the research that there is a need to educate employees and leaders across the organisation and not just those in the communications department about the importance of measurement and how to incorporate metrics into their day-to-day work.

The good news is that AMEC has both the resources and the plans to be able to deliver against this, including the launch of a new and free integrated evaluation framework.

The research also showed that the majority (69%) of non-profit communications professionals had not heard of the Barcelona Principles, the industry’s first measurement framework developed by AMEC with five other leading trade bodies¹. However, 71% say they wanted to learn more.

Arturo Romboli, Co-Chair of the AMEC Non-Profit Group and Strategic Planning and M&E Specialist at UNICEF, said AMEC was planning a major education and marketing campaign to raise the international awareness of the Barcelona Principles 2.0.

He said: “UNICEF, my own organisation, uses the Barcelona Principles at the heart of our measurement approach and we realise their importance. We are keen to educate other non-profit professionals on the value they can get from the Barcelona Principles framework.

Romboli added that AMEC’s Non-Profit Group had been set up as a unique forum to help professionals at non-profit organisations. He hoped that as a result of the research that more organisations would join.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • A Majority of non-profit professionals surveyed recognise the importance of measurement in driving an organisation’s mission and are measuring both “outputs” and “outcomes” at their organization.
  • Ninety-one percent believe measurement is important in driving the mission of an organization, with half (53%) saying it is very important.About three out of four (71%) conduct measurement/evaluation of communications efforts at their organisation.
  • Of those who measure, 62% do so at least monthly, with 77% measuring media volume and coverage (“outputs”) and 71% measuring attitude changes/perceptions (“outcomes”).
  • Monitoring social and traditional media coverage (69% and 66%, respectively) is significantly more common than surveying members or donators (54%) or target audiences (53%).
  • Research is the least common method used by non-profit professionals when determining key components of their communications narrative, including key channels (35%), key messages (31%) and target audiences (37%).

¹ The Barcelona Principles
The Barcelona Principles were developed by AMEC working with ICCO, Institute for Public Relations, PRCA, PRSA and The Global Alliance at the AMEC International Summit in Barcelona in 2010. The Barcelona Principles 2.0 update was carried out with the same partners and published in September, 2015.