Assessing Our Own Performance
CEP has grown dramatically in the past decade, and our work has influenced the decisions made by hundreds of foundation CEOs and trustees. Like the foundations we work with, we want to know more about the difference we are making.
Our logic model is based on our belief that the data and insight we develop, which is then delivered through our assessment tools, research publications, and programming and communications, will lead to foundations that exemplify the elements required to be more effective and create greater impact.
If this is what we believe, how do we gauge our success?
We routinely monitor and report to our Board about progress on a set of performance indicators that we believe connect to our ultimate impact, from assessment tools used to downloads of research reports, to media hits. In December 2010, CEP’s Board of Directors approved a strategic plan for the next four years. It outlines measures that will be used to gauge progress. We will share our goals – and our progress against those goals – on our site. More detail coming soon.
We also report on information about changes made by foundations using our research and tools garnered from independent surveys.
To evaluate our own impact, we seek to answer these key assessment questions:
- To what extent has CEP’s work with funders contributed to them having clear, specific goals, coherent, well-implemented strategies and relevant performance indicators?
- To what extent are grantees consequently experiencing the effects of foundations having clear, specific goals, coherent, well-implemented strategies and relevant performance indicators?
- To what extent are funders operating in ways consistent with achieving higher impact?
- To what extent are funders that have clear, specific goals, coherent, well-implemented strategies and relevant performance indicators able to more persuasively demonstrate their impact?
As we urge foundations to rigorously assess their performance, we must hold an equally powerful mirror up to our own. We are seeing powerful and positive signs of change. But we need more evidence, rigorously collected, over time. And that is what we will seek in the months and years ahead.
Along the way, we’ll share everything we learn. Institutions like CEP should be held to the highest standard of effectiveness, so we encourage you to ask questions and challenge us.