From Networked Advocacy
Needs for this page: * tips for collecting feedback * favorite evaluation tools Other network characteristics discussed on the wiki: * Social Ties * Common Story * Vision * Shared Resources * Communications
Networks must have the ability to gather and incorporate information on their performance. If the network aims to build relationships between different actors, has it succeeded in doing so? If the network aims to change a certain policy, was it successful? In addition to gathering information about impacts and outcomes, networks must be able to apply those lessons to future work and
Examples of feedback
We're still in the process of gathering examples on the case studies page, after which we'll start linking to those illustrative of strong social ties here. Add your examples below or on the case studies page!
- Evaluation tools
- Build in benchmarks for network growth and outputs. Is the goal to affect some kind of policy change? How can you measure that?
- Meetings with policymakers organized through network channels/connections? Etc. General community building objectives might be gauged by number of conversations between members, number of social activities organized, growth in subscriptions, etc.
- Present metrics to network membership for buy-in and feedback. This might often be part of normal network identity-building, and will ensure members understand network objectives.
- Advertise achievements and milestones to network members. Make the connection with the network. Publicizing even small accomplishments can be a great way to generate enthusiasm for network success.
- Instant polls or widgets, like the Voter Story efforts to track election day incidents and local polling places.
- Build in benchmarks for network growth and outputs. Is the goal to affect some kind of policy change? How can you measure the network's involvement in that? Number of conversations?
- Consider what’s track-able. General community building objectives might be gauged by number of conversations between members, number of social activities, growth of subscriptions, etc.
- Gain community buy-in and feedback. Diagnosing network health should build community. Network members should feel they're a part of this process.
- Advertise achievements and milestones to network members.Publicizing even small accomplishments can be a great way to generate enthusiasm for network success.
- Be on the alert for "networkism" and how networks could get in the way. Are specific goals being met? Is more attention paid to the network than to the expected outcomes? Could an organization or individual be more effective? Are the interests of those without connectivity incorporated? Have we lost touch with face-to-face and neighborhood community?
- WHAT ELSE?
The following questions can help you investigate your network's ability to gather and use feedback...
- Overview of some handy evaluation tools
- Does the network formally gather any metrics on membership or performance? Are those formally incorporated into future work?
- Are network members aware of indicators of successful functioning, even informally? If so, how do they watch for this information? Is it easy to collect and interpret (online or in person)?
- Are mistakes and/or successes perceived as being random, or do network leaders and members consider them to be the deliberate outcome of planned activities?
- Under what conditions and at what point would it be wise to consider the network obsolete? When might a merger, dissolution, or other form of restructuring be appropriate?
- WHAT ELSE?
Q&A and Tips
Ask questions of other network builders on the this page's 'discussion' page (follow the tab at the top of this page). We'll pull highlights into this space.
Many self-regulating systems exist in the world around us, including ants! Many have long pondered how these communities collect and incorporate the feedback necessary to survive and evolve.
"Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing" John D. Rockefellar