At our organization, One Acre Fund, we’ve found that randomized control trials (RCTs) can be a powerful and appropriate tool under certain conditions and for certain audiences. But as practitioners charged with maximizing impact for our clients, we often wonder whether our sector would be much better served by a new debate—one centered much more explicitly on improving impact.

Specifically, the social sector needs to coalesce around the common questions direct-service nonprofits ought to answer about their impact so that they can maximize learning and action around their program models. Put another way: What common insights would allow nonprofit leaders to make decisions that generate more social good for the clients they serve?

In part to answer this question, we recently undertook a comprehensive review of all field studies and research from our organization’s first decade of operation, and found four main categories of questions that drove the greatest learning, action, and impact improvement. We’ve ranked these below by difficulty-level (low to high), although within each, there is considerable room for increased measurement rigor to enhance the quality and utility of the findings.

Read the full article about actionable measurement by Matt Forti and Kim Siegal at The Bridgespan Group.