Category Archives: Evaluation

Building an Effective Philanthropy for Real Donors

Underlying much of the recent discussion about whether donors care whether nonprofits are effective and how to build a more effective field of philanthropy, is a recurring focus on how philanthropy experts think donors should behave. I thought the New Philanthropy Capital blog captured the silliness of this approach most aptly in their recent post […]

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 […]

Follow Up on Evidence-Based Grantmaking

On Tuesday I wrote about the rise of evidence-based decision making in the medical community and related it to the current evidence-based movement in philanthropy. A few readers pushed back on my thesis and argued that proving effectiveness in medicine was different and easier than in philanthropy. I couldn’t agree more! However, that only furthers […]

Philanthropic Impact & The Search for The Truth

When we talk about measuring the impact of philanthropy, we are in essence discussing how to know the truth. We are examining how we might best understand the reality in which we live and the ways in which our actions affect the world around us. While “impact assessment” can sound like an academic or theoretical […]

McKinsey Learning for Social Impact Portal

McKinsey & Company is a leading global management consulting firm. Like other major consulting firms, McKinsey has a group that focuses on the social sector. In McKinsey’s case, they have a Social Sector Office. Recently, the Social Sector Office launched a new web portal called Learning for Social Impact. At the heart of the portal […]

GuideStar Launches Expert Nonprofit Reviews

Last year, GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GiveWell, Philanthropedia, GreatNonprofits and Philanthropy Action put out a joint press release announcing their rejection of overhead expense ratios as the primary approach to evaluating nonprofits. GuideStar was a little bit of an odd group to sign the press release, because while they provide information about nonprofits, they do not […]

Philanthropedia: Capturing Expert Recommendations of Nonprofits

This is my newest column for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. You can find the archive of my past columns here. A Philanthropic Network Passes On Recommendations of Worthy Charities March 7, 2010 | Chronicle of Philanthropy In all the talk about measuring results in philanthropy and how best to determine which nonprofit groups are effective, […]

Social Innovation Fund Finalizes Guidelines

Key Points The final Social Innovation Fund guidelines recognize the limited availability of evidence in the social sector. The guidelines lower the minimum grant size to broaden the range of grantmakers who can apply. The Social Innovation Fund offers a chance for smart grantmakers to demonstrate effective philanthropy on a national stage and influence public […]

Qualitative Evaluation Conference Call

For all the focus on quantitative metrics, many donors forget that the act of investing, whether it be social or for-profit investing, is largely driven by qualitative information. Join me on Monday, February 22  at 10am pacific on a Philanthropy Action hosted conference call with Timothy Ogden of Philanthropy Action and David Roberts of New […]

Crowdsourcing the SoCap Conference

Within minutes of announcing that there would be a Tactical Philanthropy track at this year’s SoCap Conference we started getting emails from people who had suggestions for panels and speakers. So I’m glad to say that our plans for designing the track include soliciting your ideas and comments. Below you’ll find a number of session […]