A Note from Phil Buchanan:

I am pleased to share an update on the latest developments at CEP. We are working hard to prepare for our conference May 21-22 in Detroit, with a special pre-conference seminar for assessment tool users on May 20. We’ll be sharing new insights from new research, including a survey of CEOs on their perceptions of progress, as well as hearing from leading thinkers from inside and outside philanthropy like Peter Sims, author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries. We are nearing capacity but there is still room for foundation leaders to join us if you register soon.

As I reflect on philanthropy and CEP’s role as we enter another planning phase for this organization, I am struck by the need for reliable information that foundation leaders can trust as they make decisions about how to improve their effectiveness.

As I wrote recently in my new role as a regular columnist for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it’s often tough to sort through what—in the expanding sea of documents and reports discussing philanthropy—is moored to real data, rigorously analyzed.

At CEP, we are working hard to ensure that what we provide—through our research, our assessment tools, and our programming—continues to be information you can rely upon.

We’re also working to make it more accessible. For example, we are producing more short research reports and guides that distill our key findings.

We’re creating a new, interactive online reporting system for our assessment tools, which will allow foundation leaders to instantaneously choose and see depicted different segmentation analyses of data from surveys we conduct.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this update on CEP’s work. See you in Detroit!

Phil Buchanan

New Interactive Online GPR

Sign Up Today!

Gathering feedback from your grantees is crucial, positioning you to direct your resources in the most effective manner possible. For the past ten years, CEP’s Grantee Perception Report (GPR) has set the standard for providing actionable, comparative grantee feedback to funders like you. To kick off the GPR’s second decade, we’ve updated our survey, our methodology, and the look and feel of our reports. And new GPRs will be shared via a state-of-the-art, interactive, online data reporting system. Learn more and schedule a virtual tour of the new report by contacting a CEP Tools Manager today!

Pursuing Effective Results

CEP’s National Conference

There’s still time to sign up for our conference, May 21-22 in Detroit. An impressive group of your peers and experts will discuss some of the most important issues that philanthropy is tackling. Topics will range from the real value of impact investing to perspectives on the challenges of the foundation CEO. Read the entire program here and sign up before registration closes on May 1.

New Report on Foundation Transparency

Scheduled for May

During our national conference, we’ll release new research on foundation transparency. While the debate rages over the merits of transparency, we’ve asked for feedback from a critical audience—grantees. Our data comes from the Grantee Voice, a panel of 300 nonprofit leaders from around the country that CEP has assembled to provide insight. And they have a clear opinion about what they want to know about their funders.

CEP One Of The “Best Nonprofits To Work For 2013”

We’re honored to be named one of the nation’s best nonprofits to work for. According to The NonProfit Times, CEP was sixth in the nation overall and second in the category of small nonprofits. While we love being known as a good place to work, we’re even more pleased that the survey highlights the important role of staff. For years, we’ve encouraged grantmakers to listen to their employees’ feedback through our Staff Perception Report.

If you want to know more about what it takes to create satisfied foundation staff, read our Employee Empowerment: The Key to Staff Satisfaction report and a blog post called “Chasing Satisfaction,” by Brian Hughes, our director of talent.

What We’re Talking About

Listening to Those Who Matter Most, the Beneficiaries.” In this article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fay Twersky of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and CEP’s Phil Buchanan and Valerie Threlfall argue that beneficiary feedback is an underdeveloped resource that has already aided improved practice and better outcomes in both the education and healthcare sectors. To learn how CEP’s YouthTruth initiative is using student feedback to help schools, listen to Brennon Sapp, Principal of Scott High School in Kentucky.

When it comes to impact investing, Phil Buchanan writes on the CEP blog that while he’s excited about the promise, he still has questions. You can comment on his post here. The debate will continue at our national conference in Detroit in May with a breakout session “Impact Investing: The Key to Unlocking Impact, Overblown Hype, or Something In Between?”  

Meanwhile, our Director of Communications & Programming Mark Russell explored the implications of Bill Gate’s characterization of measurement as a “tool of business” in his 2013 Annual Letter. As Mark notes, it’s not just businesses that measure things in order to improve, and the act of measuring is seldom as simple or straightforward as some might like to believe.

From our blog you can also listen to a panel discussion about foundation support for nonprofit performance assessment. Sponsored by The James Irvine Foundation, the panel included CEP Research Manager Andrea Brock, REDF President Carla Javits, and Playworks CEO & Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Cushing. The discussion was based on findings from CEP’s report, Room for Improvement: Foundations’ Support of Nonprofit Performance Assessment.

Finally, Phil Buchanan’s latest column in the Chronicle of Philanthropy discusses “social entrepreneurship” and the difficult work of measuring assessment in the context of two important new books.

CEP Staff

Sara Dubois has joined CEP as a Senior Graphic Designer, and you can see her fine touch in this newsletter and throughout our work. She’s joined by newcomer Research Analyst Jenny Goff. You can get to know Sara and Jenny and all our staff who make CEP such a great place to work here.