What foundations can do
The social sector is undergoing a transformation with an influx of new talent from fields like technology and venture capital, where measuring results is expected. Further, social investors are demanding credible metrics of impact before accepting below-market rates on their capital. Within this context, we believe Foundations can and should play an integral role in the future of assessment, including:
- Defining best practices for working with grantees on assessment,
- Agreeing on a limited number of common metrics, and
- Building a system to share assessment learning.
We profiled five foundations to see how they manage assessment, and while each one structures its assessment function differently, they all follow a set of common principles:
- Assessment is closely integrated with grant making and other programs.
- Measurement and evaluation, knowledge management, and communications functions are coordinated.
- Quantitative and qualitative metrics are given equal value.
- External evaluations are often used to supplement internal efforts.
- Employees responsible for assessment have clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
- Leadership places a high priority on gathering evidence to drive strategy, design, and execution decisions.
- The foundation promotes a culture that values assessment.
- Assessment results are widely distributed throughout the foundation, to stakeholders, and across the sector.
View the profiles: