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.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Additional Concerns about Unrestricted Funding

Here are two other concerns that were passed on to us:

Because most donors do not proactively ask for the full set of the NGOs accounts, they are unlikely to be able to identify duplicate allocations. We need to make sure that donors understand this problem and ask for the information. But because they probably do not have enough time to look over many records, either we will have to do it to provide assurance or train them how to do so. Ideally, we would like them to do it because it fosters a closer and more involved relationship, but practically, I don’t think it will happen until further into the relationship.

2) NGOs sometimes fail to utilize their funds at all if they are not tied to a specific project. For example, when NGOs raise money through fundraising efforts that yield unrestricted funds (like from marathon sponsorship), they often hold on to that money in a corpus account or try to spread it over the course of the year. While it may be necessary in certain cases, we do want to encourage funds to be used and not sat upon. There is always a chance of misuse or underuse when funds sit for a while.