Accountability and Effectiveness Evaluation in Non-Profit Organizations

By James Cutt; Vic Murray | Go to book overview

4

The use of information in the accountability relationship

Further evidence of human problems in the evaluation process

The research reported in the Chapter 3 presented a detailed examination of what can go on in an accountability relationship between funders and fundees in the non-profit sector. The focus was on how the former actually evaluated the performance of the latter over the course of a year. However, the larger project of which that chapter was a part had another objective, in addition to simply documenting existing processes.

In the spirit of ‘action research’, the plan called for sharing the results of phase 1 of the study with the actors in the process—the key figures in the funding organizations and the CEOs in the organization being funded. The intent was then to work with them in overcoming some of the problems revealed by the data.

It was assumed that both funders and fundees would appreciate an opportunity to use the information we provided to jointly produce a more rational and more effective evaluation system. This chapter tells the story of two such feedback efforts carried out by the researchers. The first involved feedback given to the funders and fundees in the organizations referred to in Chapter 3. The second focused solely on the internal use of feedback information by two Victoria-based organizations which formed a second phase of the study.


I Responses of funders and fundees to information about their accountability relationship

Chapter 3 reported on our study looking at how three major funders (a provincial government department, a municipal government department and a federated funder) arrived at its judgements about the performance of two social service organizations in a large Canadian city. Four received a significant amount of their funding from the three funders. This study was subsequently expanded to include two additional social service organizations: one, a large family services organization comparable to ‘PI’; and the other, a small ‘grassroots’ organization similar to CDA.

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