Philanthropy Has an Impact Problem That Technology Can Help Solve

By David Goodman, Director of Impact at Fluxx on 11/17/2016

tag_blog_2016.jpgDavid Goodman participated on the Vendor Plenary Panel at the 2016 Technology Affinity Group (TAG) annual conference, where he first discussed his views on data, evaluation, and the sometimes over-emphasis on "impact" in philanthropy.

While my background is in research and evaluation, I’ve spent a great deal of time working with foundations and nonprofits to build their capacity to understand and use research and evaluation. I’m very excited to be able to bring my experience to the philanthropic sector at a time when there is a growing realization that it can benefit from the expertise of researchers and evaluators from other fields or disciplines.

This is a good thing. It gets me out of bed in the morning.

Yet, as much as I am excited about the emphasis on data, measurement, and impact, there is also a part of me that wants to pause – just for a moment – to talk about the disproportionate emphasis on “impact” alone.

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Building Capacity for Evaluation: We’re Bypassing Critical First Steps

By David Goodman, Director of Impact at Fluxx on 11/03/2016

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This post also appears on blog for the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

Any time the philanthropic sector has an opportunity to learn more about each other and the work that we do, we all benefit. A perfect example is the latest report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices.

The key takeaway: The sector has limited capacity to take on meaningful evaluation. And foundations bypass developmental or formative evaluation at their own risk. Without undertaking this important work up front, capacity for evaluation practices will remain woefully inadequate.

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Impact and Evaluation in Philanthropy: The Journey Beyond Quick Fixes

By The Fluxx Impact Team on 03/31/2016

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Like many of you, we have been hearing more and more about the need for evaluating grant outcomes and assessing the impact of philanthropic work. In fact, you cannot attend a conference, read an article, or follow a blog or anyone on Twitter these days without hearing the drumbeat for "Impact! Impact! Impact!"

At Fluxx, we are in full agreement on the need for evaluation as a means to inform funding decisions, to improve the development and implementation of grant services, and to sustain impact over time. The problem that we see, however, is that most of the guidance around assessing impact, and evaluations more generally, are "quick fixes" that lack a meaningful evaluative framework, and neglect to understand that the success and appropriateness of any evaluation are heavily influenced by the program being implemented and the capacity of the organization conducting the evaluation.

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