A new software programme, Portfolio Data Management System, aims to help donors measure the notoriously elusive social impact of non-profit organizations. Developed by the Acumen Fund and using a standard set of benchmarks devised by the Aspen Institute’s Network of Development Entrepreneurs, the new tool enables foundations to track financial, operational and social metrics. Unlike most other tools currently available, it will allow foundations to see data from other grantmakers which will help them compare non-profit performance across business models or sectors, like health investments in Africa or inner-city education in the US. The Salesforce.com Foundation, which currently gives 5,000 non-profits free licences to access its software platform, will incorporate Acumen’s tool into that platform.
New York Times, 25 September 2008