By SHANNON FARLEY, Spark Executive Director
There is a lot of chatter about how to measure and evaluate the impact of networks. The Monitor Institute and The Knight Foundation recently released a new report on the topic. Even, shirtless dancing guy has inspired discussions.
As a network, these conversations are particularly relevant to Spark. There is network impact we can measure and evaluate–mostly around our grantmaking and member engagement. But there is all of the other stuff that happens when working in a network-centric model like Spark. Good stuff. Serendipitous bursts that broaden our social returns. These bursts are juicy. They are filled with the elements that ignite social change. It is not clear how we can measure it. At least, it is not clear to us yet. To get clear, we must first talk about it.
So here is what happened today:
Elena Peifer is a member who serves on our Grants and Advocacy Committee. She also writes our Spark News Digest, a collection of a week’s worth of thought-provoking articles on women, philanthropy, human rights, and international development. Elena is headed to law school this week and so she signed off as our Digestress. Notes from digest followers poured in after Elena’s final post. Folks wrote that Elena’s articles made them think and question and WANT to open their inbox in morning. These are all good things.
And then, we got this note:
Please know that I forwarded these articles to the Social Science teachers who, in turn, gave them to the students as part of the curriculum. So YOU made an impact in the lives of hundreds of teenagers every week. You will be missed, Elena.
Now, that’s juicy. That’s the power of a network.