The NonProfit Sector Must Move From Transaction to Collaboration


We’re Measuring Ourselves To Death When We Should Be Working to Understand How to Get Better Together

This summer I spent three days at The Collaborative, an event that brings together the best and brightest from the nonprofit world (a video is at end of this story). Across all of the panels I attended and the conversations I had, one theme stuck out: Too often it feels like funders and nonprofits are sitting on opposite sides of the table. Without a shared view of success, the grant-making relationship has become transactional rather than collaborative.

Modern philanthropy has created a problematic culture of KPIs. It’s something we don’t like talking about, but it’s harmful for both foundations and the nonprofits they support. Success has become equated with charts and reports that look nice and validate metric-driven theories. But are we really learning anything? Behind the scenes, I hear the term “necessary evil” far too often.

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