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.

Friday, January 18, 2008

NGOs' Opinions of the Methodology

The Keystone methodology requires lots of resources and effort from NGOs. The problem in India is that NGOs operate on a thin line. They have small budgets, and limited staff and as we are seeing can hardly do what we are asking of them if we did not do lots of the work and hand holding.

And the closer I get to these NGOs the more I realize that they fall into two groups: (1) NGOs that see this as a fundraising effort; and (2) NGOs that see this as a fundraising effort that will also help them to think strategically about where to go. This is fair because frankly without the carrot of funding, they would be expending way too much energy and money to justify their use of resources.

I’ve said this before, but am still worried that the NGOs are not seeing the value of the methodology. I still think it is highly valuable and the problem is with us not being able to explain it well enough. While the groups assure us that they do get the value, I am not sure if this is honest. It could be that they will appreciate it only after they do their feedback reports and see how they are becoming more efficient and that it also has the added benefit of funding. But what happens if the funding falls short?