Skip to content

A February Resolution: Whether you stay the course or not, know where you’re heading

February 9, 2012

Carra Cote-Ackah, Senior Staff

It’s no secret that real-time feedback is critical to improving performance—and, ultimately, impact. Yet daily responsibilities for philanthropic investors and nonprofit leadership alike can start to relegate assessment to an “end state” activity in which the only question asked and answered is: “Did we get there?”

Having worked with several foundations over the years, I have sourced and executed grants ranging from $50,000/year to over $5 million/year. Each was pursued with the intent of achieving social impact—but the most successful efforts weren’t necessarily the biggest bets. Rather, as Paul Brest and Hal Harvey note in their book, Money Well Spent:

“giving great amounts of money is not tantamount to great giving.”

What made the difference? An empirically driven strategy that:

  1. Started with understanding where we were
  2. Incorporated what we learned along the way
  3. Course-corrected when necessary
  4. Had us look up frequently to make sure the ultimate destination was still in sight

Changing course can be an excellent strategy—as long as you’re still headed towards impact.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: