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Philanthropists—whether large foundations or small donors—often make grants and gifts based on limitedinformation. This essay explores possibilities for capturing, distributing, and ultimately using better information to makebetter philanthropic decisions.

President’s statement by paul brest

Philanthropists—whether large foundations or small donors—often make grants and gifts based on limitedinformation. This essay explores possibilities for capturing, distributing, and ultimately using better information to makebetter philanthropic decisions.

Jacob Harold and Susan Bell both contributed greatly to this essay.

To frame the discussion, consider the information available to private investors who seek primarily financial returns.Investors can make use of a broad array of data, ranging from reports of quarterly earnings statements to the historical andcurrent prices at which stocks are traded—all based on standards that are consistent across many industries,markets, and countries. They can supplement formal data with the reports of industry analysts and gossip on Web sitesand blogs. Based on this information, investors can put together portfolios that are aligned with their investment horizons and tolerance for risks. And at the end of theday, or quarter, they will know their actual returns.

With due caution about importing concepts from business into the nonprofit sector, it is helpful to think of philanthropic donations as investments that seek a social return.This reflects the hopeful belief that philanthropists want their resources to achieve the greatest impact—the biggest bang for their buck.

Whether or not you are attracted to the metaphor of social returns on investments, if you believe that the goal of philanthropy is to improve the world in some way—increasing the graduation rates of disadvantaged youth, feeding the hungry, or preventing AIDS—then the more you accomplish in a timely manner, the better. And ifyou believe that information about an organization’s performance can usefully guide investment decisions, it is disquieting that philanthropists have access to so little of thekinds of information that private investors rely on.

Money is the measure of financial return, and diverse philanthropic investments do not have a single common measure. But I am not talking about that inevitable distinction,nor about the almost equally inevitable obstacles to attributing particular results to your individual philanthropic dollars.

See Foundation Strategy Group, “From Insight to Action: New Directions in Foundation Evaluation” (2007) (http://fsgimpact. org/app/content/actions/item/177).
Rather, I want to the address the difficulty of knowing whether an organization in which you invest has the strategies and capacityto achieve its aims. This difficulty is not inevitable, but it is pervasive. At present, most donors—except possibly very large or highly specialized foundations—simply lack thenecessary data to support informed decisionmaking. This essay outlines the current state of affairs and describes the Hewlett Foundation’s efforts to help create a nonprofit marketplace that provides philanthropists with more and better informationto inform their giving.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, William and flora hewlett foundation annual report 2006. OpenStax CNX. Aug 14, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10448/1.1
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