Tools for funders to understand their performance

How funders  can better understand  their performance: Five easy tools            A White Paper by Giving Evidence

Date: February 2014 white paper picture

Authors: Caroline Fiennes and Liora Wulf

Philanthropic donors and foundations are rightly concerned to understand the effect of their work in order to see where and how to improve. Yet there’s a problem. Identifying and measuring a funder’s impact is difficult, and often impossible. Realising the difficulty, many funders stop trying: a recent study found that, though 91 per cent of funders think that measuring their impact can help them improve, one in five measures nothing pertaining to their impact at all.

Giving Evidence has found five tools which successfully help funders to better understand their performance. This paper outlines them, and we recommend them all. The tools involve understanding:

  • Are our grants succeeding?
  • Is the patient getting better? Leaving aside causation for a second, is the problem we’re addressing getting better or worse?
  • Could we release hidden funds by streamlining our processes?
  • What do our grantees think of us?
  • What have we learned? Identify and articulate lessons about performance and experience, and share them externally such that others can learn too.

The White Paper dicussed in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spears Magazine and the Social Impact Analysts Association.

Download the White Paper here.

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