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.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sometimes Credibility Alliance/GiveIndia Norms Are Too Broad

While I agree with the vast majority of Credibility Alliance/GiveIndia norms, there are a few that seem to be overbroad in the Indian context. The two that I think are most problematic are the requirements that there be no political party representatives on the board and there be no religious component to the NGOs work. I understand why they are necessary and why given the need for assurance that NGOs aren’t misusing funds the bright-line rules are necessary, but given that they can easily be subverted (e.g., making the political representative an advisor instead of a board member), I think there needs to be a materiality clause. Just with religion, it is almost impossible to avoid some religious activity in India and often it would be more bizarre to actively avoid religious activities. A materiality clause for these norms would, at the very least, be more intellectually honest.