Giving with Purpose: Evaluation and Impact

This past week’s Giving with Purpose course module focused on evaluation, and measuring impact.  Core to impact measurement is understanding how the activities of an organization yield immediate results, as well as longer term, more significant results.  One way that many nonprofits and funders approach this is through a logic model.  Giving with Purpose offered a diagram that clarifies the different parts of a logic model.

“To create a logic model, organizations often use backwards planning that starts with its intended outcomes to determine the logical sequence of activities they need to engage in as well as the skills and resources, financial or otherwise, that will be required for its programs and services to be successful.”

The course module notes that “even though it’s reasonable to hold nonprofit organizations accountable for impact — especially when they’re asking for your financial support –… it’s important to have realistic expectations about what any one organization can do and how quickly it can achieve results.”

The course instructor, Rebecca Riccio, also notes that when an organization seeks to impact complex problems that have deep societal roots, it is difficult to identify and collect clear data that illustrates how an individual organization is contributing to overall change – especially when that change might be slow to reveal itself.

This is a challenge that the grantee, the funder, and cross-sector partners have to work together to figure out.

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