Nonprofit Analysis: Beyond Metrics
One of the holy grails of nonprofit evaluation is to be able to compare nonprofits across issue areas. Concepts like “social return on investment” strive to quantify how much “good” an organization is creating, regardless of whether they are a soup kitchen or a job training program.
In recent years, the push towards using “metrics” to judge nonprofits has matured and moved beyond simplistic measures towards more holistic analysis. Groups like GiveWell, Root Cause, Philanthropedia, GreatNonprofits, and New Philanthropy Capital all strive to determine which nonprofits are best through analysis that seeks to go “beyond metrics”.
· …base their programs on research about what works
· …actively collect information about the results of their programs
· …systematically analyze this information
· …adjust their activities in response to new information
· …and have an absolute focus on producing results.
On October 5, at the Social Capital Markets conference, I’ll be hosting a live analysis of the nationally recognized nonprofit DC Central Kitchen. Representatives from Root Cause, Charity Navigator and GiveWell will be presenting their analysis of the organization alongside a presentation from DC Central Kitchen’s CEO.
Today, we want to kick start a conversation about how nonprofit analysis can move “beyond metrics”. Here are five questions to get us started.
- What are the most critical elements that signal that a nonprofit is deserving of a donation?
- What is the most meaningful financial information that can help a donor determine a nonprofit’s ability to sustain their organization?
- What is the most meaning non-financial information that can help a donor determine a nonprofit’s ability to successful implement programs that work?
- What is the most meaningful information that can help a donor determine how much of a difference a nonprofit’s programs actual make?
- Since much of the information of interest to nonprofit analysts is released only on a voluntary basis by nonprofits, how should they react when some charities share substantive information, revealing weaknesses and past failures, while the vast majority share no substantive information?
Join Sean Stannard-Stockton, CEO of Tactical Philanthropy Advisors, in the conversation.