Evaluation & Metrics

How Philanthropy and Government Can Work Together

January 15, 2010

How can philanthropy and government partner to help nonprofits marshal evidence of their programs’ effectiveness?
By setting high evidentiary standards and funding programs that meet them, government can create a powerful incentive for nonprofits to strengthen their evidence and invest in rigorous evaluation. Already the Obama Administration has advanced evidence-based policy in a number of commendable ways:

The Value of Evaluation

January 14, 2010

In our experience, an independent evaluation benefits an organization in other important ways in addition to assessing a program externally. The data collection and analysis an evaluation requires provide an opportunity and means to improve a program internally. The information an evaluation gleans enables an organization to determine what works and what doesn’t, and to adjust its program(s) accordingly. Preparing for and undergoing an evaluation has prompted several of our grantees to design or improve performance measurement systems and to use these as management tools.

How an Organization Can Build Its Evidence Base

January 12, 2010

Most nonprofits, including a majority of the Clark Foundation’s grantees, do not yet have convincing quantitative evidence of their programs’ effectiveness and lack the organizational capacity to muster it. That is why we invest heavily in helping grantees build their organizational capacity—including developing the infrastructure they need to track and improve their performance.

Failure Anyone?

December 7, 2009

Do social entrepreneurs and their ventures fail? You bet! Do philanthropists? Of course! Unfortunately, you probably don’t hear much about either’s flops, fiascos, and total failures. Why? For some pretty simple reasons: social entrepreneurs hesitate to speak publicly for fear of being labeled as “difficult,” while philanthropists have something of a “do no harm” credo to which they, consciously or unconsciously, subscribe.


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