Monday, April 21, 2008

Measuring Impact

This blog post from White Courtesy Telephone on measuring the impact of non-profits opened my mind:
And this gets to my primary beef with this whole metrics revolution, the disaster I mentioned earlier: I find the image of a funder with a stopwatch in one hand and a clipboard in the other, hunched over a perspiring grantee, rather ghastly, frankly. It’s uncivilized, so clearly opposed to what I believe should be the ethos of the charitable sector, an ethos rooted in love for our fellow men and women, expressed through our work, and incorporating the values of cooperation and mutual support, among others.

It made me realize that my frustration with measuring impact has more to do with not being able to take on any more responsibilities. The idea that the funders might take on some of the evaluation is enlightening in several senses:
In this way, the burden of evaluation is shared three ways, and neither the funder nor the grantee needs to prove for the eleven-billionth time that young people respond well to nurturing environments that stimulate their hearts and minds.

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