We expect a lot from our stories these days. We may want them to bring people together, or to call them to action. But how, exactly, can stories make a difference? Our How Do We Know research, focus groups, and workshops bring together creatives, funders, advocates, and evaluators to ask: What does story-fueled impact look like? What are we learning, and what are the consequences of measurement? Read more.

Photo by Tony Webster. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Ask the Evaluators

Our new Ask The Evaluators series explores real-world assessment of recent media projects, offering practical advice on what kinds of impact assessment methods might be most useful for different kinds of media. Check back here as we add more case studies.

What We're Hearing:

Our informal focus groups and research suggest that, when it comes to measuring impact, people have a lot to say.

Why not measure to see if we’re right, to learn more about what’s working and what’s not. Bring it on.

Creative

We’re dedicated to measuring impact because we want to know if our media grantmaking strategies are working and how to advance the field.

Funder

Funders aren’t looking at proposals that don’t promise ‘measurable change.’ I don’t even submit projects anymore that aren’t trying to have a specific impact. So yes, we’re censoring ourselves.

Creative

When we consider funding media, we need to be able to prove who it influences. We have to ask: 'Are there cheaper, more cost effective ways to get where we’re trying to go?'

Funder

People come up to me after screenings in tears saying, ‘it changed the way I think.’  How do you put metrics on that?

Creative

Our policy is NOT to ask media makers about their measurable objectives at the beginning of a project. How could they possibly know - that early on? - (Besides, you’re setting yourself up for a bull#&$% answer…)

Funder

It’s hard when foundations are interested in outreach goals and objectives but don’t want to contribute to the production of the film. This limits impact because filmmakers are always struggling, and so it can be difficult to reach long-term objectives.

Creative

Have we heard from you?

If you have an opinion, sentiment, or under-expressed idea about measuring the impact of media, please share with us.

The Latest

“How Do We Know: Defining Social Impact in Storytelling” at NCG

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

By Ellen Schneider

We are long-time fans of Northern California Grantmakers (NCG), a regional funder affinity group that takes media seriously. And we couldn’t have imagined a better host than Google.org to co-convene How Do We Know: Defining Social Impact in Storytelling (thank you Chelsea Seabron!) All of the creative leaders who participated knew that  creative media  — digital…

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