The Hard Work of Measuring Social Impact

Professor Alnoor Ebrahim of Harvard Business School explains how he thinks non-profit managers should respond to increasing demands from donors to measure social performance. The concepts he examines in a recent article include:

  • Rather than simply complying with the demands of the most powerful actors, nonprofit leaders need to focus their attention on accountabilities that really matter for achieving their missions.
  • Measuring results is valuable as a discipline for nonprofit managers, even if there is no general agreement about the methods to be used.
  • There might be agreement on a common set of metrics in the social sector for a while, but there could be a convergence on what constitutes critical reflective learning processes within the organization.
    Quantifying performance and measuring results are no longer the sole domain of for-profit enterprises.

Further information


Partnership types

Doing business with the poor

Regions / countries / territories

Americas: United States

Global issues

Community development; Job creation and enterprise development