So What?

Transparency, Trickery, Community

June 26, 2015  • Institute Contributor

Making nonprofits more transparent
Transparency. We rightfully demand it from government, business, and yes – even from us nonprofits. After all, it’s a pretty darn important part of accountability. So we applaud our Aspen colleagues at the Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation for being at the forefront of the effort to promote open and accessible nonprofit data. PSI’s Nonprofit Data Project and their partners recently reported four positive legal and policy developments around making nonprofit data more transparent and useful. Full disclosure: our PSI colleagues sit just down the hall from APEP Global HQ. And we like them.

Breakfast Past: SwP!
At one of our previous pastry bonanza breakfasts, we heard from Russ Whitehurst and David Stuit on a new survey methodology for gauging the influence of policy advocacy efforts. The technique, called Survey with Placebo (SwP), aims to provide a more accurate measurement of advocacy groups’ influence. The team recently released a new report applying SwP to three additional case studies on school reform legislation. They also test out a shorter version of the SwP that takes a mere five minutes to administer – a must-see for the evaluator-on-the-go (check out Appendix A for a copy of the questionnaire).

Breakfast Future: Assessing Community Organizing
A reminder for you laggards: Alliance for Justice’s Sue Hoechstetter and Movement Matters’ David Haiman are coming our way July 14th at 8:15 AM to present AFJ’s free online community organizing capacity assessment tool: PowerCheck. Sue and David will discuss how nonprofits, foundations, and evaluators can use the tool to help assess capacity for community organizing. Click here to sign up before all the best Bastille Day croissants are spoken for.

No “So What?” to brighten your July 3rd cuz, well, we’ll be closed. Tune in again July 10th.

The Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program helps leading foundations and nonprofit organizations plan, assess and learn from their efforts to promote changes in knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and policies in the US and internationally. To learn more about our tools and services, visit