Friday, August 18, 2006

Philanthropy and recessions

Foundations and the philanthropy industry are spending a lot of time looking for metrics. Investors and the financial services industry have tons of metrics. The news industry (in all its media forms - papers, TV, radio, magazines, blogs) is full of data and analysis on those financial services metrics.

We may need more metrics. But what we really need to do is use the ones we have. Charles Schwab & Co chief investment strategist is convinced (and convincing about) the risk of a near-term recession is greater than her colleagues are saying. She might be right. She might be wrong. Either way, near-term recession is a big concern for the investment industry and has been for the last two quarters. Is anyone in philanthropy, other than the CFOs and investment managers, paying attention? Are program officers? Their nonprofit executive partners? Strategic planners?

We can have all the metrics you can dream of. But they only matter if you use them.

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