Sunday, May 13, 2007

Foundations and Evaluating for Success

An increasing number of economic development organizations are using foundations to raise and invest funds in key initiatives. Evaluating the results of these foundation enterprises is critical. I ran across a useful guide by the Philanthrophy Roundtable that offers advice on evaluating philanthropic intitiatives.

Wise donors know that charitable giving needs to be judged by its results and not just by good intentions. Yet for decades, philanthropic evaluations have tended to collect “body count” input measures such as number of meals served, blankets given away, or staff hours worked.

With the advent of more results-oriented philanthropy, donors are increasingly looking into more meaningful measures of outcomes. This latest release in the Philanthropy Roundtable's Effective Donor series relays the practical advice of four experts on how donors can evaluate those outcomes in the programs they fund, with special emphasis on evaluating job training and school choice programs. Evaluation can also serve a foundation’s interests in unexpected ways, as when a program’s success causes it to be replicated by other donors.

Download PDF file with the full report.
Written by Peter Frumkin, Bill Niederloh, Paul E. Peterson, and Robert Peterson

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