Tag Archives: randomised control trial

Lessons during the decade since the Asian tsunami

This article first appeared in Third Sector.  It’s 10 years this December since the Indian Ocean Boxing Day tsunami. We salute those who died, those who mourn, those who tended; and we celebrate those who’ve since sought to improve response … Continue reading

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Assessing impact needs a reliable comparison group

This letter discusses an article in Stanford Social Innovation Review and was first published there. “Dressed to Thrive” [in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter, 2013] describes the work of Fitted For Work (FFW) in helping women into work. By way … Continue reading

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Has the worm turned on deworming?

The world-renowned Cochrane Collaboration has recently published a systematic review of the evidence about mass programmes to treat children in less developed countries for intestinal worms. It found that “deworming children seems like a good idea, but the evidence for … Continue reading

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Understanding impact. What would have happened anyway?

Article first published by the Society of Impact Assessment Analysts In understanding a charity’s impact, we seek to identify the difference which the charity has made in the world. That is, what has happened which would not otherwise have happened. … Continue reading

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Goldman Sachs doesn’t (appear to) understand stats. Who are the muppets now?

This article first appeared in Third Sector magazine.  The legendary investment bank Goldman Sachs was described by Rolling Stone magazine two years ago as being “like a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; and a former executive who resigned … Continue reading

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What if etiquette and impact collide?

Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard. A friend or acquaintance asks for some advice or help with their charity. I’d like to help that friend… but the work or structure of the charity raises the alarm in my head. On one … Continue reading

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How do you know if your charity is making any difference? Take control

Charities need to understand which parts of their activities are working and which aren’t. But to really understand the charity’s impact, we need to know not only what did happen, but what would have happened without the charity’s work. Imagine a city with … Continue reading

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Buy one, get 24 free!

I just have to share this because it’s so stunning. You want to improve education in rural India. A good start is to improve attendance. So you look at the causes of non-attendance: poor transport to/from school; children having no … Continue reading

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More interesting than what charity programmes achieve is what they don’t achieve

Much effort in the charity world goes into understanding what programmes achieve. Which is fine and well and good, but doesn’t indicate anything about whether funding a particular programme was any good. Let’s take an example. In India, there is a … Continue reading

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Does donor education achieve anything? Here’s how to find out

I ran a session this month with The Philanthropy Workshop, the flagship donor education programme invented by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and run in the UK by the Institute of Philanthropy. It’s one of numerous activities by advisors, private banks and universities to make donors better. … Continue reading

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