Category Archives: Impact Measurement

Maximizing vs Measuring Impact

Gabriel Kasper, one of the authors of the What’s Next for Philanthropy report that I mentioned last week commented on my post: “Thanks for the provocative commentary on the report Sean. We couldn’t agree with you more about the importance and power of leverage. In the coming years, we believe that the most effective funders [...]

External vs Internal Leverage in Philanthropy

People in philanthropy love to talk about using “leverage”. Leverage refers to finding ways to make actions create bigger results. The word leverage comes from the word lever, a simple mechanical tool that allows a force applied at one end to be magnified at the other end. In their excellent report What’s Next for Philanthropy, [...]

5 Questions to Ask Every Nonprofit Before Making A Donation

This is my latest column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. You will find the full archive of my past columns here. Probing Questions All Donors Should Ask Before Making a Significant Gift By Sean Stannard-Stockton | Chronicle of Philanthropy One of the holy grails of nonprofit evaluation is to be able to compare nonprofits with [...]

Creating the Next Nurse-Family Partnership

During the Social Innovation Fund design process, I argued that the goal of the Fund should be to support the “next Nurse-Family Partnership”. I was arguing that given the extremely limited number of nonprofits with rigorous evidence showing their programs work, funders should focus on supporting organization which were most likely to build strong evidence [...]

What is Impact All About?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post titled Getting Results: Outputs, Outcomes & Impact, in which I explained the “jargon” of tracking results in the social sector and argued that these metrics were critically important. In a follow up post, I argued that tracking results in this way should not be seen as “finger [...]

Outputs, Outcomes & Impact Part II

Read Part I here. Yesterday I wrote about the importance of nonprofits tracking their outputs, outcomes and impact to the best of their ability. Reader Nick Temple of the School for Social Entrepreneurs commented: “[Nonprofits should see outputs, outcomes and impact]… not just as ‘reporting’ to donors, philanthropists and investors of all types, but also [...]

Getting Results: Outputs, Outcomes & Impact

  Professional philanthropy, like all professions, has built a special language to describe its work. This sort of language can be used to more precisely discuss issues of importance to a field or it can be jargon that obscures meaning and serves to identify professionals to each other while excluding “outsiders”. Most donors, regardless of [...]

All Donors Care About Impact

In my post on Tuesday, I discussed a study that seemed to suggest that donors are not interested in information about whether nonprofits are any good at what they do. My conclusion was that donors are interested in this sort of information, but only if it is presented in an engaging way. In other words, [...]

Performance Vs. Impact Debate Rekindled

Last summer, an epic debate took place on this blog as a number of readers and social sector leaders argued about whether donors should focus on supporting “high performing” or “high impact” nonprofits (see links here, here, here and here). The basic difference is that a high performing nonprofit is an organization that is run [...]

The Rise of Evidence-Based Grantmaking

One of the most prevalent themes on this blog and in much of the high profile conversations in philanthropy, is the idea that grants and donations should be made based on evidence that they will actually make a difference. On the one hand, this seems like an entirely uncontroversial statement. On the other hand, it [...]