What's its purpose in systems grantmaking?
To influence a system’s social structure by identifying key actors; roles; relationships; and how information, action, and behaviors flow across the network.
What is it?
A visual mapping technique to show how people connect and relate to each other.
When is it useful?
- When you are trying to build social capital in a community, field or movement
- When fragmentation, silos or power dynamics hinder progress on an issue
What are tips and cautions for systems grantmakers and the social sector?
- Social Network Analysis has been adapted to understand different types of information (e.g., Values Mapping) and different types of actors (e.g., Social Movement Mapping).
- It’s possible to do basic mapping of social networks without software, which may be a useful exercise when forming collaborations or networks within the social sector.
- Incorporating diverse perspectives triangulates information and ensures accuracy of the social network analysis.
- Social Network Analysis can be used to identify the diverse perspectives needed to engage in systems change work, even if there is no intention to build a network.
- Software is helpful for analyzing very large networks, but can also detach the process from the people involved. Grantmakers need to balance technological approaches with participatory processes that build relationships.
- Social Network Analysis may be enhanced by other resources, like Power Analysis; SenseMaker®; and the Containers, Differences and Exchanges Model, which help forge understanding with respect to how a network interacts with and affects systems.
Engage: How Funders Can Support and Leverage Networks for Social Impact
By The Rockefeller Foundation
Gephi is a visualization platform for mapping social networks and analyzing them at a mathematical level. It is useful in measuring network growth and evolution.
Heather McLeod Grant
McLeod Grant Advisors
Converge for Impact
Converge for Impact