Money Well Spent

by Deborah Bain

Bruce Fenton writes today in the Fenton Report about exemplary organizations like Ploughshares Fund "that are not satisfied to measure their achievements in terms of dollars given and grants made. They care instead about social impact: how many lives their charitable activities have changed for the better."  He goes on to observe that "not-for-profits that make a great social impact have something that other not-for-profits don’t: a smart strategy." 

The inspiration behind Fenton's post is the recently published Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy by Paul Brest, president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Hal Harvey, president of ClimateWorks.  For Brest and Harvey, a smart strategy includes the following:

     § Achieving great clarity about one’s philanthropic goals
     § Specifying indicators of success before beginning a project
     § Designing and implementing a plan commensurate with available resources
     § Evidence-based understanding of the world in which the plan will operate
     § Paying careful attention to milestones to determine if you are on the path to success or if midcourse corrections are necessary

Harvey has good reason for identifying Ploughshares Fund as a case study in smart strategy and social impact.  A lifelong advocate for transforming global nuclear policy, he served on Ploughshares Fund's Board of Directors for over a decade, and is currently a member of our advisory board.

Deborah Bain is communications director of the Ploughshares Fund.

(photo: flickr/amagill)