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New Frameworks for Measuring Capacity and Assessing Performance

If we start with the assumption that—in order to improve our social sector as a whole—those who do the work to strengthen our communities (the nonprofits) are equally as critical as those responsible for providing the resources for the work to get done (the foundations), then why wouldn’t we expect all social sector actors to build their capacity? How do we know when our grantees and our foundations are becoming more effective and impactful as a result of our capacity investments, organizational development efforts, and technical assistance? What does a high performing organization or foundation look like? And can we measure that?

This session will review and demonstrate existing resources for assessing nonprofit and foundation capacity and effectiveness. Speakers will introduce the pros and cons of a variety of rubrics in use in the field and offer guidance on how funders decide on the right fit for the desired purpose.

In small groups, you will interpret an organizational assessment to target and prioritize the capacities to be built and become familiar with the Leap of Reason’s new Performance Imperative Pillar Assessment. You will also hear directly from grantmaker peers who have used different frameworks and tools to assess individual nonprofits and grantee cohorts.

You will leave the session with increased awareness of the importance of the facilitator’s role in interpreting data gleaned from assessments and of the data collection methods most appropriate for your organization. Finally, you will learn about initial next steps for selecting the appropriate assessment agenda for your organization and your grantees.



  • Julie Simpson, TCC Group
  • Mary K. Winkler, Urban Institute Center on Nonprofits & Philanthropy
  • Tyrone Spann, Foundations of East Chicago

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations National Conference

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