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, January 16, 2008

Will NGOs Benefit from the Information Created?

CMI suffers from certain limitations in our abilities to do everything that we want. We are two people, and though we get support from our wonderful partners, we are the ones that have to travel India, meet with groups, lead discussions, draft and edit reports, meet with donors, be our own PR firm, and handle much of the cost. As a result, we just can’t get everything we want done.

I mention this because if we had greater resources we might have a different view, but at the moment I am of the view that the methodology is better for academic purposes than NGOs (at least in India).

The results of the methodology – or at least one result – are validated impact reports. This will show the NGOs and donors and others how the NGOs are achieving the aims they seek. The problem is that lot of the NGOs are trying to do some form of this but don’t have the time to track it and devote resources throughout the year.

My fear is that they will go through all of this and produce this information but won’t or can’t (because of resources) devote energy to appreciating the value of the data. And in the end, this data will all be useful for academic interests – papers on whether impact reporting is something NGOs are interested in and whether mapping outcomes helps NGOs focus.