Measurement Is a Futile Way to Approach Grant Making

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To paraphrase Karl Marx, a specter is haunting the nonprofit world, and it is the specter of measurement.

Everywhere we turn, foundation and government officials tell us that they’re going to get serious about measurable outcomes for their investments, and that underperforming nonprofits had best beware.

Lost in today’s measurement mania, however, is one disturbing fact: This devotion to measurable outcomes is hardly new. Indeed, it is at least a century