I am glad that Lisa Jordan has raised the issue of risk and how to measure failure. However, though I could wish our sector had only one parameter, namely profits, for measuring failure and success, I have my reservations about the comparison with venture capital. Our field is more complicated and multidimensional.
What is lacking in Lisa’s article is the issue of values (though they are embedded in mission, which she does raise), which underlines the difference between our sector and venture capital. Philanthropic organizations do, and should, look at failures and successes, including risk-taking, in light of the values behind their work. Without these values, the concepts have little meaning. For example, risk-taking in programmes providing services would be different from those looking at global development (the subject matter of this issue of Alliance).