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.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Good idea but maybe think about what people actually need?

I was on Facebook today when a pop up add came up with a picture of a young Indian girl and said "24 Hour Famine". So I googled it and it turns out that World Vision is asking people to get sponsored "to go go without for 24 hours, so that someone else doesn’t have to." The idea is to raise funds and awareness for a new project they are doing for street children in Chennai.

While I applaud their efforts -- which are laudable -- it is proper nutrition rather than starvation that is an issue in India. I point this story out only as an example of what we have seen with foreign organizations in India. They often intervene with the best of intentions but with preconceived notions of what should be done. And those preconceptions often are incorrect and therefore lead the organization astray.

This is why it is not only important to consult with experts but also with stakeholders and beneficiaries. They will give you a better picture of the problem and correct misconceptions.