Only one or two people will care about the ROI of your community (CEO/CFO/financial people). A couple more might care about the profit (your boss’ boss, your boss). Maybe a dozen or so will care about the return (you, your boss, your peers).
But every stakeholder will care about value.
When we talk about communicating ROI or getting internal buy-in, we’re really talking about creating a positive perception of community value. You will probably never be asked to produce an exact calculation to prove the ROI of your community. But you will almost certainly need to demonstrate value to multiple stakeholders.
'Communicating ROI or getting internal buy-in' is really about creating a positive perception of community value
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Do not assume that value is a financial metric. Not every stakeholder cares about return or profit. The reality within most organizations is more complex. Financial success matters, but it’s a small part of a larger story.
What if your boss most cares about looking smart and innovative in front of their boss? Financial metrics aren’t as interesting as citations from news publications citing how innovative the community is.
What if they care most about the needs of members? Financial metrics aren’t as interesting as positive testimonials and collected stories of member sentiment.
What if they care about their budget being reallocated to other departments? They want financial value, but they also need ammunition to prove the community delivers better outcomes than other specific departments.