What qualifies projects to appear on one of our featured projects list? A clear project description? A good photo? A full web of trust?
Over the last couple of months we at betterplace have often debated what distinguishes a good project (on betterplace) from a lesser one.
Of course, there is (at least for me) an ultimate success criteria: How effective is a project? Does it achieve its stated aims and are the beneficiaries after the invention (in a sustainable way) better off than before?
But social progress is hard to measure and its evaluation is a science on its own. As an open plattform betterplace can’t judge projects individually but has to rely on other criteria. What are those?
There are, to start off with, a few formal criteria: has the project manager uploaded a photo of him/herself and the logo of the organisation? Are the needs split up in a sensible way? How often does the project manager write about the projects progress and the allocation of funds in the project blog? Etc.
Then there are of course, many other more qualitative criteria: has the project a clearly stated goal? Are the means to pursue it adequate? Has the project manager provided enough information about him/herself and the organisation as to create trust? And – most important of all – are there people „vouching“ for the project, as advocates or on-site visitors, who can give direct, and unbiased feedback about the project and its effectiveness?
What kind of projects do we recommend?
Our team has developed a catalogue of criteria, which a project needs to satisfy (more or less) in order to get chosen for the featured projects lists. Every fortnight, Reneé Fetcher, one of the first betterplace Volunteers and now part of the project team, selects the projects for the list according to these criteria:
The projects need to have:
– photos from the project, the project manager and (if run by an organisation) the organisations logo.
– differentiated needs (ideally of different sizes)
– plausible project aims
– some bibliographical information about the project manager
– at least 2 members in the Web of Trust who vouch positively fort he project
– Clear and comprehensive project description
– regular (monthly) blogposts
Rule of thumb: the more transparent and active a project is, the most attractive it is.
Simeltaneously we also aim:
– for a mix of projects which are tax deductible for German donors and others, which might by tax-deductible in other countries but are not so in Germany.
– projects dealing with current events
– diversity of regions and topics
The idea behind betterplace is to give donors the right kind of information for them to be able to judge a project for themselves. We believe in mature donors, who – given the right kind of information – can decide for themselves which projects to trust and support. The criteria which help us to evaluate quality are constantly revised and we are grateful for our readers ideas, concerning the kind of information they need.