A Conversation on Coming to Terms With the High Cost of Human Development

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A Conversation on Coming to Terms With the High Cost of Human Development

Nine-year-old Budi shows his grandma an article about healthy food for long life on his tablet as they sit together outside their house at a village in Demak, Indonesia. ©2014 Aji Styawan, Courtesy of Photoshare

By Patrick Fine

Chief Executive Officer FHI 360

This post originally appeared on FHI 360’s Degrees blog. FHI 360 is a member organization of Humentum.

How do we measure nonprofit organizational effectiveness?

I was delighted to have a conversation with Jeri Eckhart Queenan, Partner & Global Development Practice Head at the Bridgespan Group, about the challenges in financing development. This was a great opportunity to discuss emerging trends in how organizations manage their programs in order to deliver the most effective results while maximizing value for their stakeholders, especially the beneficiaries of their work.

In the nonprofit community, where the mantra has been "do more with less," there’s this idea that whoever spends the least amount of money is somehow more effective. That’s not necessarily true. What about impact? What about innovation? And what about investing in the organizational systems to sustain and scale activities for the long term?

Jeri and I discussed what would happen if we measured nonprofit organizations against for-profit organizations to establish benchmarks and ensure we are adding value in a cost-effective manner. We explored the question: How could nonprofits use such comparisons to help donors better understand how to measure and reward strong performance?

This conversation is the second in a series of candid discussions I am having with changemakers and respected leaders in human development over the course of the year.

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