Did anyone read the article How to Do Good and Prove It: Integrate Social Impact in Your Nonpro... by Alex Goldmark?
Goldmark writes about Kevin Starr who runs the Mulago Foundation by using a Design for Impact approach. According to Goldmark, Starr needs "to see the results of his funding very clearly and very explicitly, not shrouded in buzzword-laden reports filled with fancy calculations." He avoids funding "anyone who isn’t at least trying to measure their own impact." Impact measurement can involve complex processes and calculations, but ultimately what it boils down to is answering: what does your organization do? and how well? Part of Starr's strategy is funding organizations that can clearly and precisely express their mission statement in eight words.To him this is a sign that those organizations will be able to measure their results well. As an exercise, I thought I would try it out with the Foundation Center's mission statement. Here it is in eight words: "strengthen social sector by advancing knowledge about philanthropy." Can you put your organization's mission into eight words? Share the results with us here!
I just accepted a position at Teach For America - here is my attempt at shortening their mission statement: Provide Equitable, Quality Education for All American Students.
I really enjoyed reading all about how The Mulago Foundation has been building Social Impact Assessment into their DNA, and wrote a blog post about it here: http://bit.ly/qsEMUO
Thanks for sharing your 8 word mission statement with us, and your great post on the Mulago Foundation's work towards impact assessment! I especially like that they manage to break down the process into 5 critical easy-to-understand and jargon-free steps. Re-crafting the mission statement as the first step is such a helpful exercise for getting to the second step. For example, your succinct and well-written statement for Teach for America makes me immediately want to start thinking about what would be good indicators for "equitable, quality education" and how to define those terms.
Good luck with your new position there! And keep us posted on how it's going and what tools and frameworks TFA utilizes to measure their impact.