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.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Donors' Level of Engagment Is Crucial to the Success of Unrestricted Funding

“If it happens without intermediation, our experience shows that it rarely succeeds because donors don't have that kind of time to engage in detailed discussions[.]”

That is a quote from one of the groups we trust the most. We asked them whether from the beginning we would be able to go for unrestricted funding and what he thought of the concept. Their belief was that it would only be possible if the donors were willing to take up a lot of the monitoring role and be actively involved because otherwise it would be very hard for the donor to judge success at some future point in time. Their point was that they believed that the donor would not be satisfied with a report one year later detailing the use of his or her money if there wasn’t some predetermined way to measure the use through a project or target.

This comes from a respected group so we are taking it very seriously. However, our belief is that we can get donors to understand that they are funding social change and are part of this process of change. This process requires flexibility and non-project based funding to target a range of conditions. And through our discussions and reports, we hope to encourage such a system/relationship.

We do believe we can get donors to be satisfied with such reports one year later, but the concern expressed in the quote is valid. For this to work, donors are going to have to have the time to engage. What we need to do is make that time as little of a burden as possible.