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News Briefing: Giving it Away

By Kate Golden on March 10, 2008One Comment

The New York Times Magazine’s Money Issue is devoted to philanthropy.  From celebrity involvement in social causes to the increasing use of metrics in grant-making, this week’s issue is worth checking out. 

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  • Steve Butz says:

    Although the article, “For Good, Measure”, accurately points out the evolution of effectiveness in philanthropy and the fact that a growing number of foundations and nonprofits are focusing on measurement, it misses the mark in looking at the necessary tools to successfully link efforts to outcomes. If organizations are not aware of the tools and processes to help them better track their performance -they won’t know where to begin. They are doing important work and many don’t want to be side tracked with cumbersome reporting processes, which will take time away from their core mission. Organizations need to stay focused on their missions and manage both inputs and outcomes in a scalable way.
    The tools and systems currently available are as important to helping non-profits as the desire to better understand their effectiveness. The two go hand-in-hand. After all, what matters the most is not the number of classes taught or students who attended, but the real changes in the lives of those affected. And measurement of those changes can really tell us what works and how. Notable nonprofit organizations which are leading the way in this effort include Roca in Chelsea, MA, and the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, D.C.
    These organizations have already shown how such systems can be used to align organizational efforts with intended outcomes — using disciplined, business-like metrics — to enhance a nonprofit’s service delivery and effectiveness, promote organizational efficiency, and even quantify the value of contributions for funders. These organizations have set the bar for tracking efforts to outcomes and can serve as role models for all those who seek to be more effective organizations. It is not enough to merely talk about the importance of measurement but to find ways to really make it happen. The future of nonprofit success depends on it.

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