Gina, is your community a support community, a marketing community, or a mixed bag? How you approach the ROI will probably differ depending on the kind of community you're running. We launched our community with an Ideas Exchange, so we didn't build out a separate ROI for it. However, I can see a couple of ways we could defend it after the fact. Firstly, our community is making our company a certain amount of money per month in assists revenue (calculated with Google Analytics). If we were to determine the proportion of page views that the Ideas Exchange receives vs. the amount the rest of the community receives, we can figure the value proportionately. Another factor would be how ideas are being received by your company without having an Ideas Exchange already. You might be cutting down support volume. Previously, our ideas were all submitted via Support. If every idea and every idea comment was a support call, we've reduced Support volume by about 600 calls in the past year, and that's not counting people who kudoed the idea or viewed it and decided not to call in. The total call number would be a lot higher when you factor that in. Some of the ideas are bound to result in enhancements to your product or service that generate revenue. If you put a feature in your product that otherwise wouldn't have existed as a direct result of an idea, you can factor that revenue into your figure as well. Unfortunately, this is probably impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy. However, I'm sure there are companies doing this already that would be willing to give you a ballpark figure as a sort of case study.
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