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 15, 2007

Beneficiary Surveys as Enforcement Mechanism

One of the problems with viewing civil society as a marketplace is that it suggests that social exchanges are like stock exchanges and encourages discussion of returns. I thinking focusing on social returns is a good idea and is a good way of explaining what "new philanthropy" is seeking. The problem is that it isn't exactly like a market because there is no enforcement mechanism. There is no penalty if you aren't listening to voices (like your beneficiaries) and it is hard for donors to know whether an NGO is listening to its beneficiary. A third party monitor is impractical and expensive. What we are toying around with is trying to put beneficiary survey information into reports and then educating donors why this information is important. If donors hold NGOs responsible for having high beneficiary feedback "scores", then there is the possibility for cheap self-regulation.