Elsewhere online
December 07, 2015

Opinion: Yale Economist Urges 'Impact Audits' to Guide Giving

A Yale University economics professor who established a new organization to assess the efficacy of nonprofits through analysis modeled on financial audits describes the endeavor in The Wall Street Journal.

Dean Karlan says the "impact audits" of his organization, ImpactMatters, will measure charities in four key areas: transparency, cost-effectiveness, cooperation with other groups, and whether an organization's means accomplish its mission. Launched this month, ImpactMatters will post results online, share information on successful charities with donors, and "help nonprofits improve and set standards for the industry," he writes.

Another Wall Street Journal column examines employing an investor's mind-set to make year-end gifts go farther. Jason Zweig, an investment columnist, recommends that donors rely on data and due diligence in building a giving portfolio, utilizing research by groups such as GiveWell and Innovations for Poverty Action — also led by Mr. Karlan — to find nonprofits that offer the best return on charitable dollars.