Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Hewlett Foundation reminds us that evidence-informed polices aren’t just about number-crunching — they are about bringing more kindness and justice to the world. We should never lose sight of that.
• Nonprofits should look at the data they gather in the context of creating more equality. Are we making people the center of everything we do? If not, how can we course correct?
You might not think about it every day, with every program you monitor or regression you run, but evidence-informed policy-making is about truth, justice, equality, creativity, and love of others.
First, the value of truth. Across all cultures, and certainly in our own, the value of telling the truth is upheld over the sin of lying. One of the main tasks that parents have is instilling in their children a feeling of self-love when they tell the truth, even when it is difficult, and the pain of a guilty conscience when they tell a falsehood, even when — or especially when — it is self-serving.
Often the truths are specific, not universal: This program was supposed to improve nutritional status a lot but it only improved it a little — or maybe not at all. Or, this change in policy will leave millions of people without basic health care. They may be specific and sometimes even small, but these are intrinsically important because they are part of an aspiration that we be truthful in public affairs — that true, verifiable, reproducible information is shining a light to frighten off the purveyors of falsehoods and ignorance.
But this work is not only about truth. It’s also about justice.
The easiest link to make between the work of evidence-informed policy-making and justice falls into the domain of distributive justice — that is, the just allocation of resources in a society.
Read the full article on evidence-informed policy-making by Ruth Levine at the Hewlett Foundation.
Since you are interested in Impact Philanthropy, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Impact Philanthropy?
Well, the work of data scientists, evaluators and researchers – the people who engage in generating the information and evidence for program design and policymaking – is fundamentally about revealing truth.
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