What is Know Your Own Bone?

Let’s start by declaring what this is not: Know Your Own Bone is not another “Here’s What I Think!” website.  There are plenty of opinion websites available for those seeking subjective geek speak. Know Your Own Bone is a data-informed website about business-related best practices for visitor-serving organizations to aid in achieving both their mission-related and financial goals.

Know Your Own Bone focuses on your audience and how they think and behave. While organizations may have the specific expertise to declare a matter important, it is the market that ultimately determines a matter’s relevance. Visitor-serving organizations benefit by knowing their audiences – and Know Your Own Bone focuses on operations from the outside-in (i.e. audience centric) rather than the traditional inside-out way of approaching operations. As a result, the data and analysis that I share sometimes busts outdated industry myths and serves to challenge the dogmas that tend to govern cultural organizations.


Why write Know Your Own Bone?

I’m the Chief Market Engagement Officer for IMPACTS Research & Development, a private company that provides predictive intelligence to inform development, economic, marketing and policy strategies. I have been granted permission by sponsoring organizations and clients to share the data that appear on this website. Often, their publication on Know Your Own Bone represent the first time that the data have been publicaly shared. I’m a millennial. I grew up singing along with Care Bears in a “sharing is caring” world. So, in my work at IMPACTS, I keep my eyes peeled for interesting data that I think will be of broader interest, and then beg for permission to share it with fellow nonprofit and cultural professionals. I like to think of myself as a private-sector/nonprofit-sector double agent.

I publish Know Your Own Bone because I’m often in meetings with access to insanely awesome, blindside-the-nonprofit-CEO data and analysis – and often the same data would be extremely valuable to others in the industry.  Part of my mission is to make helpful data, analysis, best practices, experiences, and information available to the nonprofit and cultural communities. You won’t catch ads or paid endorsements on this website. My goal is knowledge transfer – not commerce.  I write Know Your Own Bone because I think that it’s the right thing to do (and because, as I mentioned, I fancy myself a sneaky double agent… though perhaps I may simply be a millennial who just cannot keep her mouth shut).


How did you start Know Your Own Bone?

I started Know Your Own Bone in 2009 as I was moving from Seattle to Los Angeles to get my Master of Public Administration at the University of Southern California. In the beginning, Know Your Own Bone mostly shared information regarding how cultural organizations were using social media at a time when most weren’t yet doing so.  My first ever webinar was hosted by IMLS in 2010 and I was “hired off the speaking circuit” by IMPACTS later that year. Know Your Own Bone then began its evolution from a graduate student’s blog to a data-informed resource website. Today – and thanks in large part to Know Your Own Bone – I am honored to work with amazing clients around the world, participate in “pinch me” board meetings with brilliant minds, conduct international keynotes, provide guest lectures and serve as required reading for graduate students, and happily host over 80,000 fellow cultural center nerds on this website each month.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; Gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still.” – Henry David Thoreau