BAVC released the Impact Playbook: Best Practices for Understanding the Impact of Media on April 9, 2013, with support from The Fledgling Fund. The report was researched and completed by Harmony Institute, a center that focuses their research on the impact of entertainment on society and individuals. This report goes one step beyond the Center’s “Social Justice Documentary: Designing for Impact” (which offers paths for media makers to understand social impact) and gives outlines for how media makers can integrate highly effective, cutting edge technologies into their work.
By working directly with participants in BAVC’s Producers Institute for New Media Technologies, researchers gained insight from media makers on challenges and concerns regarding impact measurement. The result is a best practices report that connects film partners, funders and the media maker by highlighting the benefits new technologies and the value of having a shared motivation in understanding impact, as well as growing the capacity of media makers to know which tools are right for their project.
According to Jennifer Gilomen, Director of Independent Media at BAVC, “(the) guide is written specifically for media makers in collaboration with technologies, organizations, and funders towards shared social media impact goals.” She goes on to say that, “media makers will use this guide to demonstrate the unique contributions of their work to social movements, and that their work will become more rewarding and valued as a result.”
Rather than adding more noise to the game of understanding vague impact measurement tools, this report strives to create meaningful understanding of everything from a tweet to a more complicated cross analysis of raw data. The researchers admit that the “best data is meaningless without a compelling narrative of how the world has changed,” and it is through thoughtful analysis, finding quality, insightful data over an insignificant quantity of worthless figures that can produce powerful results.
The Impact Playbook is a highly useful tool for strengthening the capacity of socially engaged projects. The Center encourages media makers to take advantage of these tools before embarking on their next project, to help think strategically from the start.