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Discussing Social Impact Assessment

Weekend Link Roundup (May 7 - 8, 2011)

Each week, we at PhilanTopic compile a list of noteworthy posts from and about the nonprofit sector. Here are a couple posts from last week's roundup about impact and effectiveness for your reading pleasure. Have a post you'd like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.


On his personal blog, Charity Navigator president and CEO Ken Berger shares the foreword he penned for the Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox, a new book written by Robert M. Penna that "digs deep and provides us with many jewels that can help nonprofits begin to perform more effectively and hopefully restore our confidence in the sector...."


On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, CEP president Phil Buchanan explains why his organization decided to invite Esther Duflo -- "an MIT economist and renowned proponent of 'field experiments'" -- to speak at its upcoming conference. Writes Buchanan:

I know emotions run high in the evaluation community when it comes to these issues, and for good reason. Experimental design has sometimes been promoted as the be-all end-all in ways that can be harmful. After all, whether a particular evaluative approach makes sense depends very much on the context.

However, I believe there is an important place for experimental design. There is a right time and place for the kind of approach Duflo espouses and, in those contexts, her approach to analyzing what works can help, quite literally, to save lives. Many lives....


-- Regina Mahone

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