Offense: Evaluating Efforts
How to measure the value and results of corporate philanthropy remains one of corporate giving professionals' greatest challenges. Social and business benefits are often long-term or intangible, which make systematic measurement complex. And yet: Corporate philanthropy faces increasing pressures to show it is as strategic, cost-effective, and value-enhancing as possible. The industry faces a critical need to assess current practices and measurement trends, clarify the demands practitioners face for impact evidence, and identify the most promising steps forward in order to make progress on these challenges.1
—Terence Lim, PhD Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy Manager, Standards and Measurement
The importance of evaluating efforts and calculating returns on corporate social investments is easily understood. Most recognize it is the right thing to do in order to improve future programs as well as to fulfill commitments for responsible reporting to stakeholders. We know we should practice the same rigorous disciplines that govern our business investments. The challenge is in doing it. Of all best practices related to corporate social initiatives, evaluation strategies remains the least fully developed. The following six best practices suggest at least a structure for identifying data collection needs and a framework for organizing information into meaningful categories, those that are output-oriented and those that are outcome-oriented ...