Common Questions about Outcomes Measurement

Can you always know upfront what specific outcomes you should be aiming for?

“No, but it’s a continuous process of feedback you are looking for,” explained an experienced grantmaker. “You may end up somewhere you hadn’t planned, but that’s okay. You want timely and useful data so you can make adaptive changes.” If some of this is being driven by the accountability surge, are foundations running the risk of putting an unacceptable degree of pressure on their nonprofit grantees? The majority of grantmakers feel that the risks of honest interaction are well worth taking. “The ones with the metrics will get the money,” said a funder, “but the nonprofits have to literally own the information.” It comes down to establishing an authentic partnership, in which the data facilitates dialogue. “You want to learn together? The important thing is relationship, relationship, relationship.”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Making Measures Work for You.