The importance of evaluation in the nonprofit sector

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The Center for Effective Philanthropy published an interesting article pointing to the importance of evaluation in the nonprofit sector. Perhaps the most interesting finding from this article is what type of evaluation is most valuable to nonprofits and their funders. In a survey of 300 nonprofit leaders, over 50% of respondents said that they agree with the statement that “Foundations prioritize information for their needs over nonprofits’ needs.” Simply put, the evaluation of program effectiveness and internal efficiency matter to foundations that fund nonprofit organizations. Indeed, this should matter very much to nonprofits as well.

Nonprofits might be evaluating their programs, but are they applying the rigor that foundations expect? An equally important question to ask is whether or not nonprofits are analyzing the structure and efficiency of their own organization. In a time when funding is scarce for nonprofit organizations, it seems advantageous for nonprofits to approach relationships with foundations like a business would with its investors. Data-driven evaluation and proven results increase the ‘value’ of nonprofits in the eyes of their investors. Read more of the original Center for Effective Philanthropy report here.

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