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 16, 2007

The Methodology Does Not Work with Mid-Level Staff and Large Groups

We have tried several permutations of the presentation now, and most recently tried to meet with a large group (approximately 10 people), most of whom were middle-level coordinators. What we found is that it was extremely difficult to move beyond even the vision statement because people disagreed so much. This disagreement often lead to arguments about relatively innocuous word choices and ultimately a muddled theory of change. The presentation seems to work best with a smaller group of key/core coordinators and advisors. We should leave it to them to share ideas with a larger group and then collect that information and give it to us. But when we meet with the group, it is best to have smaller numbers (about 2-5).

Of course some of the problems we are seeing come from groups that have no idea what they want to achieve or have over extended themselves. The framework really does expose these flaws and, if the group takes the exercises seriously, seems to refocus their efforts.