Making a Difference: Evaluating Your Philanthropy

“I want to make a difference” This simple statement often sums up the motivating impulse for both sophisticated and beginning philanthropists. However, most donors soon learn that it is very difficult to measure the results of charitable activity. Donors who come to philanthropy from business careers often expect to measure nonprofit performance by the
rigorous, quantitative measures used in the corporate sector, and are surprised by the resistance to such metrics in the world of philanthropy and “social investment.” Indeed, there has long been debate about whether it even makes sense to import business metrics and expectations to the nonprofit sector and yet, the frustration around the issue of evaluation
probably keeps some potential donors from becoming deeply engaged in philanthropy.

This monograph offers simple, pragmatic approaches to evaluation. Measuring the results of a charitable effort can be difficult. Whether donors choose an analytical approach or a more intuitive one, the most important goal is to learn from the giving experience.

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