Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekly Blog Roundup

Here are a few interesting posts from the museum blog world.

Tote that Barge from The Nonprofit University Blog

With the recent Tampa Bay Times article about "the worst charities in America," nonprofit accountability has taken a beating. Evaluation and outcome measurement are crucial to any nonprofit's success, but we are all stymied for a way to measure the impact of what we do in easily quantifiable ways - probably because it's impossible to boil quality experiences down to numbers. Nevertheless the overhead percentage number has been a terrible way to evaluate effectiveness for a long time now. When I see a nonprofit telling me that $0.95 of every dollar goes right to the children, I think of the underpaid, overworked, and subsequently ineffective staff members that are surviving on that $0.05. I work directly in programming, but what about all the other people at my museum who help make the work I do possible - our PR person, our membership coordinator, our development director? For that matter, how do you count that percentage? Would my salary count, or only the money I spend doing programming?

That's a long way of saying the overhead percentage is a terrible way to evaluate, and in this blog post Laura talks about why, and how some major indices such as GuideStar are pulling away from it. Hallelujah!

Rethinking the Do Not Touch Sign from Engaging Places

This is short and sweet but I LOVE the gallery of photographs that invert what people think of when they see a no photography or a do not touch sign. Fantastic.

The Perfect Game...or Not from Museumist

I will admit to being something of a skeptic when it comes to mobile games in museums. I like the idea, but so often what I see in execution is...a little too high concept? Not relational enough? I can't quite put my finger on it but they seem to be great ideas that won't always translate. In this guest post, Kellian Adams outlines brilliantly what a good mobile game should accomplish: in short, a lot of what we already, which is emphasizing connections between people and objects. She also raises the interesting question of how closely a game should be tied to its community: will the same concept work in different cities, at different institutions?
In fact, I think what we want to dream about isn’t really the perfect game at all. We want to dream about the perfect experience. The perfect response to a game.

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