The strange case of how it’s spent vs. what it achieves

I’ve read a lot of annual reports in my time at New Philanthropy Capital (NPC). Big charities, small charities and the ones in between. And one thing always leaps out at me –charities are missing an opportunity to tell donors what they need to know. How so? By focusing on outputs and efficiency (telling donors what their money’s spent on), rather than outcomes and effectiveness (what their money has achieved).

It’s nice as a donor to hear that your money has provided 20 training programmes or built a new centre. But why do charities think this is all donors want to hear? If I was to talk to my son’s teacher and she said ‘I’ve run 30 one-to-one literacy classes with your son’, the question I would really want to ask is, ‘yes, but how well can he read?’

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