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Presentation to InterAction’s Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Working Group

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On Tuesday, George E. Mitchell shared his research about organizational effectiveness with InterAction’s Evaluation and Program Effectiveness Working Group (EPEWG). InterAction is a coalition of U.S.-based international NGOs focused on poverty reduction and humanitarian aid. The EPEWG, one of the coalition’s many active working groups, aims to build organizations' capacity to evaluate impact, demonstrate effectiveness, and contribute to global aid effectiveness initiatives.

The presentation draws on data from the TNGO Interview Project to reveal how top leaders of TNGOs define the construct of organizational effectiveness. The results suggest that academics are wrong to reject the so-called “goal-attainment” model and that current disclosure practices in the nonprofit sector systematically fail to generate meaningful information about organizational effectiveness. The latter situation might be addressed through specific modifications to Part III of the Form 990 (or through independent initiatives), but change is unlikely to occur anytime soon. But until it does, critical stakeholders will remain in the dark about whether NGOs are actually achieving what they promise.

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