Fw: Corporate Culture Drives Assessment Outcomes

H. C. Covington @ I CAN! America (@)
Sun, 30 May 1999 09:06:14 -0500

----- Original Message -----
From: Saxon Harding <eh395@FREENET.CARLETON.CA>
Sent: Friday, May 28, 1999 10:06 AM
Subject: Re: Corporate Culture Drives Assessment Outcomes

Fellow Arnovans,
Simply had to jump in after reading Jon's brilliant piece of TA translation
on the nature of the grantmaker and grantseeker relationship..

However, my take, while it doesn't dispute the reality he notes, does
dispute the method of fixing it.  I think Jon is saying, treat everybody in
a more respectful fashion and the process will change (yes, Jon?).  But I
disagree.  No matter how grownup (adult-adult) everybody might strive to be
and now matter how focused on the client need,  without a larger evaluative
context in which the results of all this service and all these programs can
be situated, then this process will always come down to demanding heart's
blood from folks who get tired like everybody else. The whole thing
shouldn't have to depend on high levels of personal skill.

Nonprofit service is not properly included in the economy like other
activities and it is, IMHO, this fundamental lack which ends up creating
these evaluation dilemmas.  If it were perfectly, QUANTIFIABLY, clear that
not providing shelters for homeless people had a negative impact on the
economy, make no mistake about it, programs that were able to lure homeless
folks off the streets and keep them off would be funded because it would be
in our enlightened self-interest to do so.  And since such programs can only
work when they are  QUALITATIVELY  responsive to the needs of the client,
there wouldn't be the need to have qualitative measures in the evaluation
process at all any more than there is any need for businesses to tell their
shareholders how well they treat the customers - that process gets
demonstrated in their bottom line.

I have been of the opinion for some time now, having observed this kind of
thing up close, that until we have more sophisticated models of the economy,
the folks in the nonprofit sector will continue to thrash about in
frustration, pointing the finger at one another instead of realizing that
the problem lies elsewhere.  Come to think of it, isn't this how all
progress occurs?  When no matter how hard a "paradigm" is bent, it just
can't provide the answers?


Saxon Harding  M.Ed. M.M.S.
Nonprofit Consulting & Research
Ottawa, Ont. Canada
Phone: (613)237-8038
E-mail: eh395@ncf.carleton.ca