Friday, 30 January 2009

Thoughts about "A Day On"

The ETOlutionist

President Obama’s call for a “Day On” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. is to be commended. This year was the largest turnout ever with more than 12,000 service projects registered.

Everyone seemed to want in–understandable since this is something we can feel good about – helping others, using time off to do good. The intention is good but in the end – intentions are not what are most important in making a difference. To have the most impact –whether through volunteering time or donating money –it is critical to understand the mission, goals and strategy of an organization and how the organization will work to achieve its intended outcomes. Unfortunately, this information is not often readily available, placing the onus on individuals to request it – demand it – before committing time or money to a cause.

Here are five questions to help you obtain this information and make sure your time/money is being well spent… more rewarding than a cup of coffee.

  • What is the mission of the organization and/or its programs?
  • What indicators are used to measure its progress toward achieving its goals?
  • Does the organization have metrics, reports, or some form of evidence to demonstrate success?

  • What impact has the program had on the population that it serves?
  • What are some examples of recent adjustments to programs and/or services that have helped to improve performance?

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