Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sky-HIgh Attribution

"Our research found that every dollar grantmakers and other donors invested in policy and civic engagement provided a return of $115 in benefit"

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

I'm a big fan of advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement -- but economic returns like this are almost otherwordly and certainly leave out lots of other actors and contributing factors. And, of course, there is the problem of attribution -- what causes what. Raising the question of attribution can be a show stopper -- and I do think the advocacy world requires a different way of attribution thinking than gold standard methods that haunt other fields. But we need ways of communicating the importance of advocacy and civic engagement without straining standards of common sense. Are there advocacy homeruns? I hope so. Should an investor expect to hit a home run each time they make an investment in advocacy? I don't think so.

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