Making your giving go further
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Enabling giving to be based on sound evidence
How to Give It: 

Giving Evidence's Caroline Fiennes wrote in the Financial Times this weekend about how donors need to use good evidence to avoid wasting donations, and the various kinds of evidence they need (scale and nature of the problem, what solutions are effective, who else is involved and what the 'intended beneficiaries' think). The article features a guest appearance by a Sheikh.
Getting charity and giving to be based on sound evidence: how are we doing?
Given that, as discussed in the FT article, it's important that donors use evidence, Caroline spoke at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine about the state of play on creating and using evidence to:
  • assess non-profits
  • assess interventions
  • assess ways of giving.
Watch the talk here… and send us your thoughts about what should happen next.
How can philanthropy become more effective? Towards a research agenda.

Our new paper with the University of Chicago calls for a new science to understand which ways of giving are most effective and when.
For example, when is it best to make a few large grants versus many small grants; to be engaged versus hands off; to give restricted versus unrestricted; or to make grants versus loans? Currently nobody knows. The paper looks at:
  • what effectiveness means for a donor
  • what's known about how donors' choices (e.g., those listed above) affect effectiveness
  • a research agenda arising from the many things not yet known about how donors can become more effective.
Assessing ways of giving: How come this foundation’s grantees find its reporting process so helpful?
Most grantees hate their funders’ reporting processes, so we were intrigued to find a foundation whose grantees say they really value its reporting process. However does the Inter-American Foundation achieve that? Giving Evidence found out. (Clue: the ‘reporting process’ is part of the IAF’s intervention, a bit like a capacity building programme).
“Oops, we made the non-profit impact revolution go wrong”
It was a great idea to assess non-profits' effectiveness but a terrible idea to ask the non-profits themselves to produce those assessments. 
Ken Berger, Managing Director at Algorhythm and former CEO of Charity Navigator, and Caroline Fiennes wrote a controversial article here.
The Business of Giving: Caroline's interview becomes the radio show's most popular ever

A super-fun conversation. Presenter Denver Frederick and Caroline talked on air about learning from Galileo, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and discussed almost everything about effective giving. No wonder the podcast is so popular.

You might like these:

Study of why international development NGOs don’t publish evaluations that they’ve done.

Tim Harford accused charities of ‘bullshit’ (not caring if their ‘facts’ are true or not) at the Royal Institution

NSPCC’s stats on child addiction to porn don’t stand up to scrutiny {illustrating Tim’s point??}

How the Magic Impact Fairy makes non-profits’ research come to life!

Talk of charities ‘proving their impact’ is dangerous and misleading

The best decisions use all the existing evidence. Here’s how.

What makes research have impact? Not grant size, according to this study.

We're busy! Read Giving Evidence's 2015 Year in Brief.


We want to support charities to describe their interventions better so others can replicate the good ones. If you're interested in this too (e.g., funding some work on it) please get in touch.

Great things to do

Come and hear Caroline at Ta'atheer 2016 - MENA Social Impact & CSR Forum in Dubai in May.

Support our work, since there is tons of work to be done to improve charities' performance.

Book Caroline to speak at an event. Contact Jo.

Join us: we always need smart people, who can do analysis, write well, and respect deadlines.

If you are interested in seeing how existing research can inform your own giving, contact us.
And finally:

The actual evidence about whether ‘Sharapova’s drug’ works for the conditions people claim they take it for.
We always welcome feedback: on this newsletter, our writings or our ideas.
Contact details here.
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