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.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mapping Vision Sometimes Requires Current Activities

The vision statements in the maps of the theory of change are supposed to be focused entirely on what future world you would like to create. It is not supposed to have aspects of what you are “doing now.” This, however, seems a little tortured for groups that do focus on creating change by delivering a service. Not only that, it seems like it could hurt them by encouraging them to grow in areas where they probably should not.

I am working on a school that seeks to give children from slums an excellent education and then through family and community outreach programs, help transform the slum communities. The school is essential to that. They start with the school and work from there. So, if one was to phrase their vision like, “Group X seeks to provide exceptional education to impoverished, abandoned, and orphaned children so that they can break the cycle of poverty for themselves, their families, and communities,” it would seem as though they may someday move beyond using the school to do so. The school is not just a strategy or how they will make this happen, it is essential to their identity. In such cases, I think the vision needs to have some element of what the group is “doing now”.