GuideStar International's Blog

February 3, 2010

Glasspockets website launched to improve transparency of US Foundations

Filed under: Access to information,Accountability,Philanthropy,Transparency — guidestarinternational @ 12:09
Tags: , ,

The Foundation Center has launched to promote and facilitate greater transparency among private foundations. It encourages foundations to share their successes and failures and highlight good performance of peers. The site provides important facts about all 97,000 U.S. foundations, examples of philanthropy’s impact on important issues, and information about the transparency efforts of foundations. The site also has a real-time foundation Twitter feed; a Transparency 2.0 section that showcases the growing number of foundations using social media; and a Who Has Glass Pockets? section that shows the online communication practices of foundations based on what they make publicly available.


January 20, 2010

Civil Society and Social Outcomes: Towards Correlated Measurement

Equipping individual CSOs, and civil society more broadly, with the means to measure their effectiveness or success is extremely important and much debated. The need for this has given rise to a proliferation of approaches about how such outcome measurement should be pursued. Though GSI does not evaluate or judge the ‘worth’ of CSOs, we do believe that without good quality, public information about their structure and their work, evaluation is skewed with the tendency to judge ‘value’ or ‘effectiveness’ in simplistic terms. CSOs already have a multitude of reporting responsibilities – primarily to regulators and donors. However, this information is usually not made publicly available and this opacity restricts the ability of organisations as well as the communities in which they work, to really learn what works and what doesn’t.

Not only would CSO performance based reporting benefit from greater attention, but so would an analysis of the way in which civil society’s work correlates with outcome measurements by other actors (most notably the public sector).  CSOs play a vital role in the provision of, and advocacy for, improved social services and in many cases provide a counterweight to government. Yet, evaluation of the extent to which they have achieved their goals cannot be done in isolation from government and community reviews.  For instance… did crime rates decrease… did employment increase? It follows that the impact of their programmes should also be evaluated in relation to overall outcomes.

This interview with Hildy Gottlieb gives an interesting insight into this subject in the US context. State of the USA, is also examining the issue in an interesting way as they aim to measure social outcome in the US, online, through the use of quality statistics. An entry in the Social Entrepreneurship blog also illustrates that though necessary, it is quite a challenge! However, arguably, if we are to make progress not only as a sector but as societies, it is absolutely essential.

Create a free website or blog at