Evaluating Charities for Impact
Benchmarks of Highly Effective Charities
Gena Rotstein, FEA, MA
CEO & Advisor in Philanthropy
“To make charitable giving a
part of every person’s banking
and financial management
experience and positively
influence $1Billion in
Integrating Philanthropy Planning with
About Dexterity Ventures Inc. & Gena Rotstein
Personal and group values shaping charity
Evaluating the Social Impact
If we have time…Non-traditional "philanthropy“
How do I knowWhat Most Needs
Benchmarking charities for impact and effectiveness
What is Philanthropy?
Love of mankind
A financial transaction predicated by moral response to
a social dilemma
As a phenomenon, philanthropy is actively practiced
throughout the world through voluntarily giving of time,
talent and resources in support of the common good
(Wagner et al, 2003, p 442)
What is Strategic Philanthropy?
The process of identifying what you want to see
society look like, and using philanthropy as one of
the tools for achieving that vision
The Charitable/Philanthropic Plan is the
coordinated steps in achieving the vision
“Greatness has more to do with how non-profits work outside
the boundaries of their organizations than how they manage
their own internal operations.”
~ Forces for Good
“High impact non-profits work with and through organizations
and individuals outside themselves to create more impact than
they ever could have achieved alone. They build social
movements and fields, they transform business, government,
other nonprofits, and individuals; and they change the world
~ Creating High Impact Non-Profits
What Makes a Great Non-Profit?
A Diversified Portfolio to Drive Social
Charities & Non-
Social Return on
The Social Profit Sector
What Role DoYou Play?
Vetter of options
Asset manager (Investment committee)
Donor Profiling – Creating a
Strategy for Giving
• Program Implementation
• Community Engagement
• Governance (policies &
• Funding & Financials
What to look for?
Capacity to report on long
What is success?
Staff & Volunteer turn-over
Diversified funding portfolio
History & Connectedness
Strategic v. Operational Board
Policies to protect donors and
How do they work with others in
Governance & Leadership
Serve & Advocate What to Evaluate
Policies & Procedures
The role of the board is to
drive the direction of the
the needs of society, and
steward the donors’
A community is defined not
only by the geographic but
by those individuals and
groups that are within. A
great charity has strong,
positive relationships within
its defined community.
*Creating High Impact Non-Profits,
Plan, Execute, Adjust
How resources are being
allocated in order to
achieve the mission
How the organization
and solutions to the
Effectiveness = Time of your donation + Amount Needed
A use of human capital
(talent and ties) to offset HR
and admin costs
Ties financial contribution to
Policies & procedures are
aligned with the values and
mandate of the organization
The last sign of an
organization in crisis is
usually seen in the
The Canary in the Mine
Governance & Leadership
6. What is the composition of the
board? How long are their terms?
7. Are conflict of interests publicly
8. Policies & insurance to protect
9. Are conflict of interests publicly
stated (i.e. investments are being
held by the firm of a board
10. What is the ED evaluation process?
1. What is the strategic direction and
who is managing it (board make-up?
2. Is the board managing the budget &
key financial transactions? (Chair,
Treasurer and CEO different people)
3. Have they filed their annual return
with the IRS or CRA?
4. How often does the board meet?
Do you feel that it is often enough?
5. Privacy statement
What is Good
HR Policies & Procedures
1. Are the right people sitting in
the rights seats on the bus to
drive the operations?
2. Whistleblower policy?
3. Does the salary policy create
a cycle of poverty within the
organization? Is it
competitive with the
4. Is there a business plan?
5. Are the opportunities for
6. Are staff appropriately
How do I evaluate Financial
Know the marketplace
Donor Bill of Rights
Report on Financial Activities
What are the liabilities?
1. Are there public policies on
2. Who manages the investment
assets? Are all the investments
with one firm/broker?
3. How much of the operating
budget is spent on program
4. How long does it take for the
donated funds to “hit the
5. Who is doing the fundraising?
How to measure
Inspires others to get
Creating strong networks
with other non-profits
Strong relationships with
1. Which companies have affiliated
their brand with this
2. What other charities are working
with the organization that you
support to address the issue that
3. How has the organization been
represented in press (unpaid)?
4. Who are the major donors and
how are their donations being
5. How are community members
engaged in the organization?
Is my money working?
1. What is the funding ratio (private
foundations – government –
corporate – individual donors –
2. What is your commitment to
3. What is your commitment to
investing in overhead?
4. What is the process for
measuring success? Does the
organization have the ability to
learn from failure and adjust?
5. What does success mean to you?
Donor Bill of Rights
Charter of Ethical Fundraising
The Art of Giving
End of Fundraising
The Creative Class
The Blue Sweater
Soul of a Citizen
The HIP Investor
Harvard Business Review, Stanford
Social Innovation Review
Resources & Book List