News & UpdatesJanuary 27, 2012-3 things, Learning
This week marked the public release of Humanity United's first comprehensive performance report, an exercise that helped us to better understand the impact we believe we are having and the learnings we are collecting from our grant-making and direct-impact activities.
Here are a few things we’re doing this year to continue to learn at Humanity United:
1. Sharing the results of our performance. The 2011 Performance Report showcases the outcomes of our grants and direct-impact activities, and celebrates the achievements of all our partnerships. This publication is an important step to share with our grantees, peers, and the public at large what we’re learning. It also demonstrates Humanity United's commitment to fostering greater transparency into, and accountability of, our work.
2. Collaborating with our partners to identify clear, measureable goals. Monitoring and evaluation are each important tools that teach us about the effectiveness of our work, inform our program strategies, and help us make decisions about our grant-making. Before each grant is approved at Humanity United, we work with our grantees to clarify activities, assumptions, and outcomes to ensure mutual understanding of program theories. We also follow the same process for our foundation-led activities. We view this as an important opportunity to promote shared learning, both for ourselves and our partners, and to develop more effective programs.
3. Seeking counsel to inform work and processes. At Humanity United, one of our core values is continued improvement. In 2011, we asked the Center for Effective Philanthropy to survey our grantees and assess their perceptions of our grant-making, interactions, and relationships. We shared those results in the 2011 Performance Report, and much of that feedback is being used to inform our 2012 planning—especially how to improve our processes and better communicate them. Likewise, we plan to pursue a series of exercises in the coming months to better understand the Performance Report's usefulness. All readers are invited to share their feedback at communications[at]humanityunited.org.
Meredith Blair is Associate Director of Research at Humanity United. She is based in our California office.
Image: One of the results from the Grantee Perception Report, featured in the Learning section of the 2011 Performance Report.