The true test of any nonprofit is to demonstrate impact. But the first test is to set up a way to measure it. Every nonprofit aims to have impact, but few have the systems in place to calculate little more than outputs.
Prior to joining NTEN in 2013, I worked in the human rights field with Social Accountability International (SAI). Much of 2010 was focused on Project Cultivar, which worked in the Dominican Republic sugarcane plantations and its company towns, bateyes. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, cholera spreading into the bateyes posed an imminent threat as most of the workers migrated from Haiti.
With our local partners, we were able to connect with the farms we worked with to quickly distribute water bottles with purification tablets to workers. We were proud to note that through this intervention, there were no reported outbreaks.
While this story was inspiring, it didn’t necessarily represent the great work SAI did as a whole. For nonprofits, measuring their broader impact can be easier said than done. That’s why we’ve focused this entire issue on nonprofit impact.
Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s in this issue:
- “Measuring Your Impact in Two (Complex and Nuanced) Steps and One Big Trap,” by Andrew Means, Groupon
- “The Rise of Data Culture in the Nonprofit Sector,” by the team at Whole Whale
- “Creating the Future with Transparent Organizations,” a conversation with Hildy Gottlieb, Creating the Future
- “New & Improved Annual Reports,” by Kivi Leroux Miller, Nonprofit Marketing Guide
We also go behind the scenes with charity: water and Transparency International, and shine a spotlight on two projects from the ISEAL Alliance and the Foundation Center. Plus, check out the new NTEN Voices section for tips and tools from our team and community!
Get started! The NTEN: Change publication, designed especially for busy nonprofit executive directors, departmental directors, boards, and other leadership staff, is free and ready to download!