Philanthropy and Outcomes: Dilemmas in the Quest for Accountability

by Jean Baldwin Grossman; Gary Walker

Apr 1, 1999
Grantees report that never before have grant negotiations with foundation staffs been so focused on specifying outcomes. Some foundations have employed consultants to work with their staffs so that inputs, operational processes, and intended intermediate and long-term outcomes and impacts are specified and differentiated. A number have added evaluation departments to their organizational structure. Small and medium sized foundations, which have previously given exclusively to direct services, are now asking for and funding evaluations, so that they may know with objectivity and rigor if the projected outcomes are achieved. We do not recommend a moratorium on all outcome and impact assessments. In some settings, formal impact evaluation is what is called for. What we are arguing for is a strategic rethinking of when to utilize the tools of formal outcome and impact research.
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