Accurately measuring the social impact of nonprofit programs requires managing the collection, interpretation, and consumption of "impact data" responsibly, a report from Candid (formerly GuideStar and Foundation Center), the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, New Philanthropy Capital, and Salesforce.org, argues.
Designed to help the social sector measure its impact in a responsible manner, the report, Impacting Responsibly (91 pages, PDF), gathers insights from thought leaders in the fields of philanthropy, measurement, and evaluation in nine areas — impact capacity building, impact frameworks and standards, constituent feedback, current reporting burden, resource inequities, impact data ownership, roles and responsibilities, collaboration, and limits of quantitative evidence. The contributions also address questions such as: How can organizations of all sizes and budgets use impact data? How can they better engage those they serve through impact data? How should they handle privacy and data protection? And how can they collaborate to maximize what they can learn from impact data?
"We believe the philanthropic sector is near a tipping point," said Candid executive vice president Jacob Harold. "Technological change, rising expectations, and new partnerships are driving the field toward a new orientation around impact."
"The impact measurement movement presents a unique opportunity to reimagine how to address long-standing sector challenges, including diversity and inclusion, beneficiary feedback, onerous reporting, and transparency and accountability," said Salesforce.org vice president for global impact Brian Komar. "Overcoming these challenges and seizing these opportunities, however, will not happen if left to chance."