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For the past week or so, Sean Stannard-Stockton has been diligently chronicling the public commentary about the Social Innovation Fund's recent Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). He's posted thoughts from people ranging from nonprofit consultants to social entrepreneurs, and while there is lots of excitement, there have been a few questions or concerns that seem to arise across the board:

1. The Problem With "Proven": Many people had problems with the strenuous approach to having "proven impact" be a part of the funding process. I thought Sean put it most compellingly, basically making an argument that there were almost no nonprofits who could actually point to conclusive evidence because what that conclusive evidence looks like is relatively subjective. The biggest problem is the idea of using random experiments to test effectiveness - only one of many methods that can be used to test effectiveness and frankly, one that most groups saw as relatively unimportant and flawed until these guidelines came out. If groups all suddenly begin lining up to design randomized trials and field tests now, it would demonstrate the power of funders to force nonprofits to conform to a theory of change (or rather, a theory of testing change), rather than offering up their own approaches.

Original Article: Three Common Questions About The Social Innovation Fund | Social Entrepreneurship |

Author: Nathaniel Whittemore