The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Mar 28, 2012

Measuring your work: puzzles, lessons & trends

Posted by Mayur Patel

Last week, I was invited to speak to some of South Florida's top nonprofit leaders in education, community development, the arts and public health as part of the Philanthropy Miami conference.

The (impossible) task: to do an overview on measuring social impact - in 60 minutes. 

I think I've sat through workshops like that before.

First we learn about 'Theory of Change', review what goes into a 'Logic Model', and then debate the differences between short and long term outcomes, with a brief interlude to touch on contribution versus attribution.

All important stuff no doubt, but fairly dull material to have to present.

Instead, it seemed like more fun to talk about these topics:

·      Why measure in the first place?

·      What big lessons have we learned at Knight? (with a few stories drawn from others), and

·      What three emerging trends will affect how all of us measure and analyze our work in the future?


You can see the answers in the slides from my presentation, below. 

By Mayur Patel, vice president/strategy and assessment  at Knight Foundation

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