How Did We Do? CEP by the Numbers

How did CEP do in 2011? Board Chair Kathy Merchant and President Phil Buchanan reflect on the past year in the opening letter to CEP’s 2011 Annual Report – extending an open invitation to join CEP in the pursuit of more effective philanthropy. 

Dear Colleague,

The year 2011 marked the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s 10th anniversary, and it was a period of significant accomplishments for CEP. This Annual Report uses data to tell the story of our pursuit of more effective philanthropy during 2011.

While the data we present here is often encouraging, we believe funders have a long way yet to go before they are truly maximizing their effectiveness and as a result having the most positive impact possible on fields, communities, and people. We believe that foundation effectiveness requires clear goals, coherent strategies, disciplined implementation of those strategies, and relevant performance indicators. As for all organizations – from small businesses to big companies to human service nonprofits to colleges and universities – it takes tremendous will and discipline for funders to maximize their effectiveness.

But for funders, it’s an even bigger challenge because of the lack of naturally occurring feedback loops.

That’s where CEP comes in. We bring data to bear on important questions through our research and our assessment tools. How are funders doing in their relationships with grantees and other key stakeholders? What do we know about how they can do better? Are funders seen to be clear in communicating their goals and strategies? What is the relationship between the rhetoric about foundation strategy and its actual use? How might we bridge that divide? What data exists that would allow funders to better coordinate as they work toward shared goals? How are funders hearing from the intended beneficiaries of their work – the people whose lives they seek to improve?

This is just a sampling of the questions CEP helps to answer for funders through our research and our assessment tools.

We don’t have all the answers when it comes to effective philanthropy, of course. No one does. But we are committed to doing everything we can to help funders assess and improve their performance in pursuit of their intended impact.

We hope you’ll join us in the quest for more effective philanthropy.

Yours sincerely,

Kathy Merchant – Board Chair

Phil Buchanan – President


View the full report here.


Addy Ashiru is a Coordinator on the Communications & Programming team at CEP.

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