Assessment & Learning

Identifying Methods to Measure Success

Effective philanthropy is a process of continual learning. A structured learning agenda and assessment plan will strengthen your philanthropic purpose, strategy, impact, and family engagement.

There are few certainties in philanthropy, but one is undeniable: good intentions are not enough. Nor are detailed plans and processes. You must spend time and other resources to reflect on fundamental questions and adapt your practices. Consider the following:

  • What impact have our partners had? Are we reasonable in our expectations of that impact?
  • Do our strategies, tools, and processes still make sense?
  • Are we making progress toward our goals and vision?
  • Are we improving in our ability to govern and manage our work?
  • Are we growing and learning as people, and are we preparing the next set of decision-makers?

Featured Resources

TOOL | October 20, 2020

Due Diligence: Vetting and Evaluating Organizations

Everything you need to think about as you narrow down your list of organizations to support. Once you have compiled a list of potential organizations to fund, you’ll want to conduct a due diligence process to vet them for effectiveness. Due diligence involves assessing a nonprofit’s goals, strategies, and capabilities to determine whether the organization is worth your support. This

TOOL | May 5, 2021

Listening & Feedback: A Funder Action Menu

This menu from Fund for Shared Insights offers a conversation-starter to help foundations think in a systematic way about how they can promote listening and feedback across the many dimensions of their work.

PASSAGES ISSUE BRIEFS | April 4, 2011

Measuring What Counts: Meaningful Evaluation for Family Foundations

Family foundations are in business to make a difference. As one family foundation leader put it, creating a family foundation is a “powerful statement about wanting to achieve impact.” Yet family foundations often get painted unfairly as not having impact, perhaps because they aren’t always very good at understanding or describing the impact they have, even to themselves.

SAMPLE | April 15, 2012

Policy Central: Grantmaking and Strategy

Included here are samples policies and checklists for budgets, site visits, evaluation forms, discretionary grants, and much more.

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