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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You Have to Visit the NGOs

This is a very obvious statement, I know, but we have heard of donor advisor groups coming to India and not actually visiting the NGO where they are actually doing their work. In our experience, seeing what the NGO does and interacting with their beneficiaries and staff has been invaluable in understanding exactly what the NGO does. Many NGOs have difficulty communicating their dynamism, and it takes a visit to see it and often the indirect benefits of their efforts. Others are very good at misleading people as to what they are doing or in other cases have been dishonest about what is being funded (e.g., saying two schools exist when in reality the two are just meters apart and cater to different age groups). I can’t imagine how these groups are doing their research or how they could possible understand the complexities of issues in India that require seeing and being there (like many of the rural development topics).