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Performance is the best means of evaluation

Conservation has undoubtedly become big business – there are literally thousands of conservation groups, and the biggest of them have hundreds of employees and many offices all over the world. Top executives earn six figure salaries, the organisations have very slick marketing departments, and their acronyms are now household words. Being non-profit organisations, they are ultimately dependent on donations falling into dozens of categories. You can donate online, by cheque, by credit card; donate pocket change on the street, in airports and planes, in restaurants and casinos; donate via your last will and testament, donate property and goods, donate by buying products, donate through your company - and that is just a short list.

While conservation organisations obey strict guidelines to account for their income versus expenditures to maintain their non-profit status, they largely do not provide key performance indicators – a standard for businesses to assess how well they are delivering their product versus the competition. Indeed, businesses evaluating themselves might consider the SMART concept - a Specific purpose, Measurable outcomes, Achievable goals, Relevant actions, and Timely delivery. Conservation organisations are largely not evaluated by outcomes and progress, and perhaps continue to rely on promises and projects and presence at meetings.

We need to have a new formula. Conservation organisations need to provide the means for donors to evaluate their effectiveness. If funds are raised for a particular programme or project, the conservation organisation is obliged to the donors to effectively evaluate key indicators of success. If you embark on raising funds to save tigers or rhinos as a Specific purpose, you then need to provide Measurable outcomes, what goals were Achieved, how Relevant your actions were, and what you were able to deliver in a Timely fashion. In other words, you as an organisation are responsible to your donors to provide the product promised when soliciting their money, and donors can evaluate how SMART they were by donating to you versus anyone else.

A realistic challenge in these days of limited funds being available? A trust by donors that must be met by realistic and measurable achievements by the recipients? A PACT embarked on so that donors can objectively evaluate Performance of sponsored programmes, Action by innovative means rather than acceptance of an outdated status quo, Constructive progress in all promised endeavours, and Tenacity to achieve stated goals?

A timely challenge, and let’s all make some needed changes and make conservation more relative, innovative, and responsible.

Categories: Pieter's Blog

Posted by Pieter Kat at 22:07

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