Recently, Charity Navigator CEO Ken Berger said that one of the problems they’ll have in moving to an outcome measurement rating system is that less than 10% of nonprofits are actually measuring outcomes internally. While measuring outcomes (what effect a nonprofit’s programs actually have) might seem simply in theory, in practice it gets very complicated and can be very expensive to implement.
So that’s why I’m excited to highlight a project being sponsored by the San Diego chapter of Social Venture Partners. SDSVP member and Tactical Philanthropy reader David Lynn writes:
We have a great opportunity for performing a quality case study on outcome measurement, and we’re looking for other groups that may want to get involved and help form some best practices. We would like to publicize this process and provide enough transparency so that we can all learn and benefit.
San Diego Social Venture Partners is working with our Investee, Elder Law & Advocacy, to launch a new program focused on scams against seniors. The program is a ground-up initiative within a well-established organization that already has staff, funding, plans, and plenty of SDSVP consulting – all the elements needed to embark on a new initiative, but early enough in the process that we can still focus the program.
However, while the need of preventing elder abuse is well defined and fairly obvious within the sector, the outcomes of a prevention program are not. Thus, the open questions:
– What are the outcomes that we should we measure?
– How should we measure those outcomes?
– How can we best track and report on those measurements?
Here’s the summary of the program:
Senior Shield is a community-wide initiative is designed to help seniors avoid being victimized by unethical individuals who perpetrate scams and fraud and, as a result, help these seniors preserve their assets and maintain their physical, emotional and physical health and age with the best possible quality of life.
Through education and legal assistance to seniors, including a Fraud Hotline, and through advocacy at the local and state level, Elder Law & Advocacy will achieve these goals:
1) Protect unsuspecting seniors from abuse by family, caregivers, strangers;
2) Help seniors avoid falling victim to Medicare fraud;
3) Promote awareness among legislators of the increase in scams targeting seniors and the dramatic rise (and related cost) of Medicare fraud.
SDSVP is interested in partnering with foundations, universities, nonprofits or anyone interested in researcher the best ways to measure outcomes. If you’d like to participate, contact SDSVP directly or shoot me an email.
Note that SDSVP is committed to running this program in a transparent way so that the field at large can learn from their experiment.