Five Myths and a Question About Impact

What Are We Talking About When We Talk About Impact?

Everybody’s talking about it. Individual donors, foundations, impact investors, and nonprofits all say they want it. But what do they all mean?

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania offers an analysis from September 2013 that examines the different ways people are using the term and the implicit assumptions that can prevent progress. It ends with the 3 key questions that enable donors to cut through the noise and stay on the path to making the positive difference in the world they seek. Although helpful to all donors interested in practicing high impact philanthropy, the analysis offers specific examples related to addressing the needs of women and girls, thanks to their  collaboration with Women Moving Millions.

The Center also offers six blog posts about five myths and a question about impact:

Myth 1: When folks talk about impact, they mean the same thing.

Myth 2: There’s no impact unless you caused it.

Myth 3: Impact is always positive.

Myth 4: There are impacts that simply don’t allow for measurement.

Myth 5: If you don’t see change, you’ve had no impact.

Nikki Powell

Nikki Powell is PEAK Grantmaking's effective practices director. You can find her on Twitter @nikkiwpowell.

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