16 resources for measuring open source community ROI

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Most people working in open source communities understand the value the community brings to projects and organizations. But how do you show that ROI on a spreadsheet or pie chart? I provide an overview in How community building can help an organization's bottom line. And I've collected this additional list of resources, which will help you make a strong business case for building engaged, enthusiastic open source communities.

  1. Best Practices for Measuring the Return on Investment of Online Communities (PDF)—Although this 19-page PDF was created for Oracle RightNow Social Experience customers, it's a great resource for building a framework for measuring the business value of for other online open source communities, provides an ROI method derived from real community experience, and explains best practices for setting measurable community goals.
  2. Online Community ROI, Redefined (In Pictures)—This blog post explains how an engaged community helps supplement customer support. As the author explains, "This success will actually raise costs, but in a good way, because additional benefits will come from increased customer loyalty, time-to-market and quicker recognition of customer needs and wants."
  3. The Value of Community: Behavior Change to ROI (slides)—This slideshow runs through investing in communities to grow business value, defining behavior change that will generate value, behavior change in practice, and the next steps.
  4. Building Value: Articulating the Power of Community Management—Findings from the 2013 State of Community Management report, which focuses on the value of community management. "Resources like this report can really provide the concrete research and case studies that non-believers are looking for."
  5. The Value Of Social Business (Infographic)—This handy infographic looks at how companies think about social as a business tool.
  6. How to Calculate the ROI of Your Online Community—Sure, calculating community ROI can be difficult. "The good news in that getting the ROI for your online community is more complicated in a way that allows you to both capture the real value that your private online community brings to your organization, and make improvements in your approach where necessary."
  7. Keys to Community Readiness and Growth Study Now Available (Report & Infographic)—CMX and Leader Networks teamed up to answer the question, "If you’ve never built or grown an online community before, where do you begin?" Download their report to learn about the business drivers and operational best practices responsible for successful branded online communities.
  8. What success really looks like in open source: And how we can support them, Open source projects don’t start as communities, Somebody is always “in charge”, even as projects mature—In this Medium post, Nadia Eghbal looks at open source projects, their communities, and the resources and organization behind them.
  9. Measuring ROI of Online Communities—As this article points out, benefits of an online community are derivatives of a successful online community, not its purpose.
  10. How Threadless, The Huffington Post and Fitocracy understand the business value of community—A look at specific examples of community efforts moving the bottom line among the biggest and smallest of brands.
  11. Why The ROI of Online Community Doesn't Matter—Instead of asking about ROI of community, which the author points out has already been proven, ask, "What’s the value of community to our customers? What’s the value of community to the world?"
  12. How Erica Kuhl Proved the ROI of Community at Salesforce—"In February, after seven years building community from scratch in the marketing department, Erica successfully moved community to the product team, where they now have a defining impact on the Salesforce product itself." This article explains.
  13. What's the value of a community?—If a community is not a marketplace and you can’t establish the ROI , what good is it for business? Read about two examples that show what a community can do.
  14. The value of community engagement—Learn about four key challenges you might run into when trying to engage communities, and suggestions for making engagement activities successful.
  15. The Business Value of Community—These three steps can help show your value as a community manager.
  16. The Real Value of On-Line Communities—Published in 1996, this 20-year-old article offers a practical explanation of the value of online communities.
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VM (aka Vicky) spent most of her 20 years in the tech industry leading software development departments and teams, and providing technical management and leadership consulting for small and medium businesses.

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