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The Goldilocks Challenge – Right-Fit Evidence for the Social Sector - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Goldilocks Challenge: Right-Fit Evidence for the Social Sector

Mary Kay Gugerty and Dean Karlan


Nonprofits, governments, and social enterprises face increasing pressure to prove that their programs are making a positive impact on the world. This focus on impact is positive: learning whether we are making a difference enhances our ability to effectively address pressing social problems, and is critical for wise stewardship of resources. However, measuring the impact of a program is not always possible, nor is impact evaluation always the right choice for every organization or program. Accurately assessing impact requires information about what would have happened had the program not occur ... More

Keywords: impact evaluation, evidence, social sector, social impact, monitoring and evaluation, monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL), Goldilocks, nonprofit, NGO, performance management

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780199366088
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199366088.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mary Kay Gugerty, author
Nancy Bell Evans Professor of Nonprofits & Philanthropy, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington

Dean Karlan, author
Professor of Economics and Finance, Northwestern University