Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning
Creating Tools to Guide Nonprofits and Philanthropy Toward Their Goals
Measurement is an important topic for funders who want to know how their money is spent, for nonprofits and NGOs that want to show their programs work, and for impact investors committed to financial and social returns. Measurement, however, isn’t just a yardstick for success, it's a tool for learning and decision making that leads to better performance. As such, it aids strategic clarity, facilitates equity and inclusion, and validates innovation.
We tailor our approach to nonprofit measurement and evaluation to meet the specific needs of every client, guiding and gauging progress toward their ambitious goals.
Questions about Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning We Help Nonprofits Address
We think of nonprofit measurement, evaluation, and learning as decision-making tools, and we bring a racial and global equity lens to all of our measurement work. These tools are most effective when used organization-wide and when they incorporate measurement of programs, finance, operations, and leadership. We have helped clients answer questions such as:
- What specific outcomes will we hold ourselves accountable for and over what timeframe?
- What indicators will we use to track progress?
- How do we design performance measurement that considers racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic factors?
- How do we choose between—or blend—quantitative and qualitative measurement?
- How can we use data to make decisions and innovate, and how do we share it internally and externally?
Questions about Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning We Help Philanthropy Address
As a funder, you may wrestle both with internal measurement concerns as well as how to help grantees measure their progress toward stated goals. We can provide guidance on a variety of topics, such as:
- What outcomes do we care about for ourselves?
- How do our grants map to those outcomes?
- What outcomes do we care about for our grantees?
- What key performance indicators matter most for grantees, and how do we track those indicators?
- What tools (e.g., dashboards) can we use to track impact?
- How do we center racial equity in our measurement strategy?
Questions about Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning We Help Impact Investors Address
We collaborate with impact investors across a range of asset classes—from market-rate private equity to below-market rate “catalytic” investments where there are higher levels of financial risk or expected lower returns. We tailor our support to meet your needs as you seek help with questions such as:
- What impact do I hope to achieve as a fund?
- How do I evaluate the potential social or environmental impact of an investment?
- What quantitative or qualitative measures should I use to track progress?
- What key performance indicators matter most for my investments?
- How will I use performance measures to manage my investments to stay on track for anticipated impact?
Examples of Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning Work With a Nonprofit:
What SHOFCO Has to Say about Working with Bridgespan
“SHOFCO worked with the Bridgespan team in Johannesburg to design a 5-year strategic plan that expands the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN) community organizing platform towards a goal of one million slum residents, or, the critical mass necessary to achieve urban slum transformation across Kenya. This new strategic plan put an emphasis on SHOFCO's community organizing work (versus SHOFCO's long track record in service delivery), and pushed us to think creatively about how to develop a comprehensive M&E framework that substantiates systemic change at a slum-level and nationwide.”
Chief of Staff, SHOFCO
Translating a New Vision for Impact into a Strategic Measurement and Evaluation Framework
Examples of Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning Work With a Foundation:
What the TGR Foundation Has to Say About Working with Bridgespan
"We worked with Bridgespan in 2015 to design a five-year plan for growth that built on our core equities but allowed us to expand our impact in dramatic ways. It went so well that we re-engaged with their team this year to evaluate our work, setting the stage for our next period of growth and impact."
Former President & CEO of TGR Foundation, A Tiger Woods Charity
Clarifying the Impact It Hopes to Achieve
Examples of Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning Work With an Impact Investor:
What The Rise Fund Has to Say About Working with Bridgespan
“Bridgespan's work is practical, execution-oriented, and courageous. I believe their contributions to The Rise Fund will advance the field of impact investing and our collective desire to measure and manage towards greater impact.”
Senior Partner, The Rise Fund
The Rise Fund: Developing a Measurement Tool for Evidence-Based Impact Investing
Examples of Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Impact Investor Clients We Have Worked With
Publications that Include Guidance on Measurement and Evaluation
Measurement as Learning: What Nonprofit CEOs, Board Members, and Philanthropists Need to Know to Keep Improving
Funders want to know how their money is used and nonprofits need to prove their programs work. Often overlooked is the purpose of measurement for learning and improving an organization’s performance.