Social Venture Partners reports on capacity building outcomes

The Social Venture Partners (SVP) Network is the largest network of engaged donors in the world, with 2700+ Partners in 32 cities in five countries—the US, Canada, Japan, India and Australia—and the network is expanding rapidly in North America and abroad.

From 17-19 October, SVP’s Audacious Philanthropy 2013 Conference will bring together hundreds of philanthropists engaged in the hard work of social change. SVP’s 2012 Report on Capacity Building Outcomes (linked below) draws on a quantitative survey focused on nonprofit “investee” satisfaction with SVP; as well as time, money and connections received through partners. We asked SVP to share with the network more about how it measures its own organisational effectiveness.

How does SVP facilitate transparency and accountability within its network?

SVP believes that the effectiveness of a nonprofit organisation’s programs is directly related to the strength of its internal capacity. We are working on the assumption that SVP efforts to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofits lead to improvements in program effectiveness and, ultimately, greater impact in the community. We do ensure that all the nonprofits we work with are in a position to evaluate their programs and use that evaluation to guide the program’s development. Nonprofits which conduct regular evaluations of their programs are able to document their impact and demonstrate how they are making a difference in their communities. They know which programs work, and which can be improved upon.

It’s no different for SVP. In 2004‐5 we convened a team of partners and staff, led by Blueprint Research and Design, to identify the key outcomes in both philanthropy development and capacity building. The project was funded by grants from the Hewlett, Kellogg Foundation, Lodestar and Surdna Foundations. Quantifying what social gains are attributable to SVP and what is attributable to other factors is exceptionally difficult—so instead we ask nonprofits to document the most significant change they have experienced as a result of their involvement with SVP.

Our 2012 Report on Capacity Building Outcomes lists some examples.

SVP invites proposals in the communities in which it operates. The SVP Report on Capacity Building Outcomes, released every second year, is based on a quantitative survey that asks nonprofits to rate the service they receive from SVP, as well as the time, money and connections that flowed from it. The results are specific to each individual SVP, so they can track their own performance as a grantmaker or capacity builder.

For more on our accountability work in international philanthropy, visit our transparency and accountability page. Visit SVP online.

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