Karina Lungo

Research Friday: Does your nonprofit have an outcome-driven culture?

 

posted by
 Karina Lungo,
Research Assistant,
ASU Lodestar Center


Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing series, we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

With the recent scarcity of grant funding, excellent program evaluation practices are becoming a distinguishing element of effective and grant-competitive nonprofit organizations. However, studies reveal that most nonprofits still view evaluation as exclusively about program outputs, and they often perceive data gathering as a resource drain and distraction.1 Even those who are eager to conduct evaluations often lack the funding and knowledge to evaluate their programs appropriately.

There are different approaches to evaluating a program. Some organizations gather data such as program expenditures, customer satisfaction or program outputs (e.g., the number of individuals receiving the services, number of trainings provided, number of animals rescued, etc.). However, increasingly nonprofits are moving to the practice of outcome evaluation. Program outcomes are defined as the expected and/or actual benefits that program participants will receive. Outcomes usually imply changes in behavior, condition, skills, attitudes or knowledge in the individual, community or other target population. Outcome evaluation therefore involves the verification that program goals are being met. Other evaluation forms include: process evaluation, which requires that specific program activities and procedures be reviewed in order to help explain why a program worked or did not work; and program monitoring, which uses in-process measures to track whether a program is being executed as designed. More sophisticated methods of evaluation include random controlled trials (RCTs) or the use of a logic model.6

Grant funding and the proper knowledge to conduct program evaluation are common issues:

Research Friday: Legal Structure Alternatives to Lead Social Change

 

posted by
 Karina Lungo,
Research Aide,
ASU Lodestar Center


Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing series, we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

Do you have passion for social good and want to step out and lead it? Or maybe you have a great idea to create your own business, but want to balance making a profit with creating social impact?

Let’s face it, sometimes we struggle between our commitment to helping society and our personal needs for monetary income. In the finance class of the MNpS program at ASU, we were introduced to a fascinating article by Jim Fruchterman: For Love or Lucre. He suggests that all social entrepreneurs should balance the following four factors when deciding on a legal structure for their venture:

  1. Motivation: how strong is our motivation for a social mission vs. making a profit?
  2. Market: who are the customers we want to serve, and what is the competition?
  3. Capital: how much money do we need to get the venture started and keep it going, and how important are tax considerations?
  4. Control: how much control and decision power do we want to have in our enterprise? Are we willing to share it with the community, a board, investors, or partners?

Research Friday: Why Give to International Charities?

 

posted by
 Karina Lungo,
Research Aide,
ASU Lodestar Center


Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

"Why should I support the rest of the world when there is so much need in my own country?" is a question I often hear people ask. In fact, though the U.S. is a rich country and, as of 2011, ranks as the most generous nation in the world,1 only five percent of its charitable giving goes to international causes.2

I am a student in the Master of Nonprofit Studies program at Arizona State University and work for the ASU Lodestar Center. As I become more immersed in the nonprofit world, I learn more about dilemmas in philanthropy; questions like: "where will my contribution have the most impact?"  Or, "how can I be certain my money will be used adequately?" While it is true that donors should inform themselves and balance their options carefully before contributing, I also believe that when it comes to giving, you should listen to your "gut feeling": that voice from your heart telling you where to help.

Here are three simple reasons why your "heart" may tell you to give to international causes:

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