“Measurable outcomes” seems to have become the new mantra in the nonprofit world.  Everywhere one reads about foundations seeking to measure results, applying metrics, and assessing effectiveness.  The assumption seems to be that, if only we could get a stronger numerical hold on what happens as a result of nonprofit activity, akin to the bottom-line of a business investment or the hard numbers of empirical science, we could do much better at solving some of the great social problems upon which we are all so diligently working.

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