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A tape measure wrapped around he word success.

How We Measure the Success of Our Philanthropic Strategy

June 26, 2023
  • How do we measure success?
  • How do we measure success?
  • It's important to understand what's working and what isn't.
  • How do we define success?
  • What do we mean by evidence?
  • What sources of evidence do we use?
  • How do we measure impact?
  • How can you learn more about evaluation and strategic learning?
    To learn what works and what doesn't in our grantmaking, we need reliable tools that provide credible evidence.

    How do we know if our philanthropy is making an impact?

    It’s a question we’re always asking. It’s how we learn what we’re doing right – and where we need to improve.

    As part of our learning journey, we collect and use data to inform our decisions. Strategic Learning allows us to become more nimble in our grantmaking and help our grantees succeed in achieving our shared goals.

    The following flashcards provide greater insight into how the foundation determines if it’s been successful:

    Measuring Success Square Slide 1

    It's important to understand what's working and what isn't in our philanthropy.

    The foundation's mission is to tackle tough social and environmental problems with a strategic and long-term approach to create access to opportunity for people and communities. Our learning journey is in service of fulfilling that mission.

    Measuring Success Square Slide 2

    How do we define success?

    Success is when we make a significant contribution to achieving the goals in our strategy. We ask questions like: How essential were we to the change? And, were we a pivotal player in making the change happen?

    Measuring Success Square Slide 3

    What do we mean by evidence?

    In the planning stages of our work, we collect evidence about the problems people are experiencing and their causes, the different perspectives about the problem and the success of existing efforts to solve them. In the implementation stages, we gather evidence about the work we have completed, how people have responded to the work and what changes in outcomes have occurred.

    Measuring Success Square Slide 4

    What sources of evidence do we use?

    Success is determined by gathering and examining evidence from multiple sources to estimate the foundation's contribution to achieving goals we set with our partners and communities.

    Measuring Success Square Slide 5

    How do we measure impact?

    We assess the significance of the outcome - how many people benefited and how their lives changed. We examine the extent to which we believe the goal would have been reached without our efforts. And we focus on the whether the evidence meets our standards for rigor and validity.

    Measuring Success Square Slide 6

    Want to learn more about how the foundation approaches evaluation and strategic learning?
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