Welcome to the Charitable Measurement Initiative!

The Charitable Measurement Initiative is a collaboration of people and organizations that are deeply committed to the belief that social change organizations can mobilize significant new and better investment if they are able to implement a measurement reporting framework that credibly communicates their real impact to donors. The Initiative is directed by GiveIndia and calls on the resources of pilot program partners Keystone Accountability, Global Giving, and New Philanthropy Capital, as well as many other organizations committed to social welfare.

The process began when we decided to combine our previous experiences in humanitarian and charitable work with our current work as corporate lawyers. We sought to find a group in India that was looking to incorporate capital markets/securities concepts in reporting and analysis to create more valuable and transparent information.

Thankfully, we were put in touch with GiveIndia. Give discussed the idea of running a pilot program implementing the Keystone framework developed by Keystone Accountability to see if we could help organizations more clearly articulate the outcomes they wanted and better communicate their actual results to donors. This was exactly what we were hoping to do and gladly agreed to donate a year of time to making this work.

While we were in London, Give put us in touch with Keystone Accountability and New Philanthropy Capital. After many meetings throughout the spring and summer, we arrived at our joint creation – the Charitable Measurement Initiative – and a plan as to how we would seek to help NGOs in India become more transparent, responsive, and efficient, as well as help donors become more engaged and involved.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Running an NGO is not your escape route from your current job...

What I am finding is that the best NGO leaders do tend to have some private/business experience before entering civil society. The difference between the good NGO leaders and the mediocre/bad ones, is that the good ones are extremely good. They were not just skilled bankers, financiers, etc., they were likely near the top of whatever organization they were at before. This makes sense – running an NGO is much harder than most private business. Not only does the NGO head have to be the organizations visionary and force it to stay consistent to its goals, he or she is often called on to give advice in everyday problems. As a result, he or she needs to manage macro and micro problems. He or she needs to be a macro-level manager, while providing micro-level input. And if the NGO is really successful, he or she will likely be called on by other NGOs to help solve their problems – which, given how much all of the NGOs need each other to tackle larger issues, means he or she can’t say no to any requests for help. If this wasn’t enough, often that NGO leader will be the only one in his or her organization that is even remotely capable to taking on this much responsibility. So, my point is that just because a person is a successful student or businessperson, does not mean he or she will be a successful NGO manager…to be one you probably need to have been an exceptional student and a phenomenal businessperson.