Measuring social value: your MVP may not be what you think…

finding your mvp means accurately measuring social valueKobe Bryant, one of the most celebrated basketball players in the NBA, is the leading scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. But is he actually their most valuable player? 

Not according to a recent study.  A player's rebounds, field-goal percentages, and turnovers -- in addition to points scored -- together are most valuable in producing wins. And on this composite metric -- "wins produced" -- Bryant ranks third on his team for the regular season. 

"Points scored" could well be an analog for "money spent," "hours invested," or "beneficiaries served" in the world of philanthropy -- i.e., necessary, but insufficient measures for determining your most (socially) valuable programs. Rather, consider what other elements -- such as change in learning, attitudes, and behavior among beneficiaries -- that are required for accurately measuring the social value ("wins produced") you seek.

You may find a new favorite program -- or ways to improve those that you're already committed to.