An Association of Nonprofit Analysts?

Yesterday was a big day for NPC, as we, with Bertelsmann Stiftung, brought together two hundred charity professionals to discuss nonprofit analysis. The importance of understanding the results of a charity’s work was captured nicely by one of the speakers, Jamie Cooper-Hohn of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation:

“Some nonprofits think that ‘passion plus activities equals impact’. It doesn’t. Measuring impact is essential.”

Interest in effective philanthropy has increased recently with US president Obama appointing a new head of social innovation to “scale up what works in nonprofits”, according to Matthew Bishop.

As far as we know, this is the first time such a gathering has happened. Attendees from over 20 countries came to the day long conference. NPC used it as an opportunity to test the appetite for an Association of Nonprofit Analysts, to share learnings and raise standards.

Two thirds of the audience agreed that an association would be useful.

Today, we are already following up some of the conversations that were started yesterday and will be thinking about what happens next. Do comment about your thoughts and get in touch if you want to help us take this forward.


  1. Good afternoon, Mr Brookes
    I am very interested in the proposed Association of NonProfit Analysts. I hope the fact that I work for the Police Service doesn’t preclude me from being a member. Unfortunately, the Police Service has nothing approaching this Association. As a Learning Evaluator in the Police Service, I feel that there is very little support for, or interest in, my endeavours. Which makes me so interested in your proposal.

    One thing, perhaps, that might be useful in terms of defining appropriate measures is Benefits Management. I’ve tried to use this technique in my work, with some success. I’d be happy to supply you with a brief description of how I use it.

    All the best & good luck,

    Paul Whitehead
    Learning Evaluator
    Sussex Police

  2. As an academic within a Business School, having a first degree in Economics, as well as being CPFA qualified, and at the same time being a trustee/director for a large local charity and the director/trustee of a social enterprise (a CDFI), both the issue (and the actual product) of Social Impact Studies hav come across my radar on more than one occasion. I am looking to estbalish a research project on the extent to which such studies and analysis, could come within the remit of a developing accounting profession -the finanical accountant (for external reporting / audit purposes) and the management accountant (for internal reporting/performance monitoring purposes). I think the current economic context increases the signficance of the importance of such analysis. I think that each of the two contrasting approaches of – a new association or modifying the remit of the accountant, has its own particular strengths. It will be interesting to see how things evolve over the next few years. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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