Category Archives: Impact Measurement

The Decline Effect & “Proven” Nonprofit Interventions

One of the great buzzwords of the effective philanthropy movement is the idea of “proven effective” programs. Since so many nonprofit programs are never tested and are based on ideas that have little research behind them, it makes sense to encourage the funding and deploying of programs that have proven to be effective. While sensible, […]

The Value of Charting Impact

On Friday, Bob Ottenhoff wrote about the new Charting Impact initiative that gets nonprofits to answer five questions as part of a public report that is intended to encourage donations and grants to flow towards effective nonprofits. But can five questions answered with a couple of pages of text really help donors understand which organizations […]

Charting Impact: Common Impact Reporting

This is a guest post by Bob Ottenhoff, CEO of Guidestar, which has partnered with BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Independent Sector to launch Charting Impact. There has been a long-standing debate among nonprofits and those that benefit from nonprofits’ goods and services about how to measure nonprofit effectiveness. It seems every organization has a […]

How Philanthropists Can Jump Start The Impact Investing Industry

This is a guest post from Colby Dailey. Colby manages the affordable homeownership initiative Cornerstone Partnership for NCB Capital Impact. She has been working in and alongside the philanthropy sector as a grantmaker and practitioner for over ten years. By Colby Dailey I believe that philanthropists’ willingness to pay for social returns positions them to […]

GuideStar’s New Strategy

This is a guest post by Bob Ottenhoff, CEO of GuideStar. GuideStar recently announced they have acquired innovative startups Social Actions and Philanthropedia. We asked Bob to share the strategic rationale behind these deals. By Bob Ottenhoff Over the years, GuideStar has taken on the monumental task of providing transparency into the nonprofit sector, with […]

Valuing the Future: Discount Rates in Philanthropy

One of the most basic financial tools is the concept of present value. The present value concept simply assumes that value received in the future is worth less than the same value received today. You can see this dynamic working if you think about whether you would rather be given $100 today or be given […]

Tax Protection for Social Results, Not Social Missions

Lucy Bernholz had another though provoking post last week in which she suggested there should be some sort of “consumer protection” oversight of nonprofits and social businesses. “From the donors’ perspective we need something more than metrics and annual reports that cements the organization’s commitment to social good. Nonprofits have typically relied on (been given […]

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 […]