Most nonprofits understand the importance of accurate communications measurement but non-profit leadership often falls short in in the conduct of evaluations. A synthesis of five recent studies of nonprofits indicated that only 6% have internal evaluations staff and only about 2% used external evaluators.

This is a big red flag when over 70% of non-profit executives report that they used communications measurement to decide the allocation of funds.

William Comcowich outlines possible solutions to the measurement problem in this report from

Despite nonprofits’ limited PR measurement, PR scholars and professionals have developed cutting-edge methods to measure the impact of PR and to use measurement findings to improve messages and channels, writes report author Jungkyu Rhys Lim, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland studying public relations and strategic communication.

“The potential of measuring public relations’ impacts have not fully realized. It is future nonprofit public relations professionals and scholars’ roles to work together with measurement specialists to develop rigorous measurement and innovate use,” Lim states.

Other PR experts point out that nonprofits can gain substantial benefits from media monitoring and social media listening. Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), credits social media listening for one of its most successful email campaigns ever.

“Time and again, social listening has provided us with compelling information to speak with our supporters about issues they care about, when they care about them,” says SCAN Director Diana Onken.

Nonprofits can control costs by working with a monitoring service that offers month-to-month agreements rather than one that binds them into long-term contracts. In addition, selecting vendors that can customize their services to the nonprofit’s needs can help the organization avoid paying for unneeded services.