Developed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar USA, and Independent Sector, with help from an advisory group that included the Foundation Center, Charting Impact is an innovative online tool designed to allow organizations to communicate their goals, capacity, and achievements directly to the public.
Representatives from the above organizations and from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations will present Charting Impact - Share Your Results, a free webinar on Wednesday, June 22, at 2:00 pm, to discuss all aspects of this new tool. Register here.
Based on responses to a set of five questions, an organization creates, for free, a concise, standardized report to share with potential supporters and partners. The report is then published on the Participants page on the Charting Impact web site and eventually on its GuideStar profile. In addition, if an organization is a member of Independent Sector or has a profile on BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the report will also appear on these web sites.
For its creators, the motivating factor for designing this tool appears to be to provide philanthropy-minded individuals and grantmaking foundations with a reliable means of comparing the effectiveness of nonprofits through a standard format. For nonprofits wishing to drive interest to their work and services, having a means to augment the information provided on nonprofit monitoring web sites, such as GuideStar and BBB Wise Giving Alliance (which many potential funders and donors use), is a key selling point.
Is this, then, a useful tool to help you show the effectiveness of your organization and to tell your story directly to potential funders and donors? Or is the design too restrictive to capture the nuances nonprofits would like to communicate?
Sean Stannard-Stockton, author of the Tactical Philanthropy Blog, thinks it can work.
In a recent post on the topic, he says of the 5-question design: The fact is, there is no short, simple answer that can prove effectiveness. This is true in the for-profit sector as well. Even in a field where the goal (profit) is easily measurable, there are no reliable, simple data that can answer the question of whether an organization is (and will continue to be) effective. But the Charting Impact questions don’t seek to get nonprofits to provide any specific data. The elegancy of their approach is that the questions give each nonprofit the freedom to answer in the way that is best suited to their particular situation while requiring that they respond in a manner that reveals the organization’s strategic strengths and understanding of the environment in which they operate.
What do you think?
For a more complete understanding of how the tool works, use the well organized Frequently Asked Questions, and to view reports created by other organizations (including a grantmaking foundation), go to Sample Reports.