New Publication: Who is Defining Effectiveness?

Cochrane, L. and Thornton, A. (2017) Charity Rankers: Who is Defining Effectiveness? (Ch. 18, p 108-113). In Smart Risks: How Small Grants are Helping to Solve Some of the World's Biggest Problems, edited by J. Lentfer and T. Cothran. Practical Action Publishing: Warwickshire.

Preview (first page) of chapter available here, email me for a full copy.

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New Publication in the Journal of International Development

Cochrane, L. and Thornton, A. (2016) Charity Rankings: Delivering Development or Dehumanizing Aid? Journal of International Development DOI: 10.1002/jid.3201


  • Individuals want to know which organisations to donate to, and a variety of organisations have developed ranking systems to guide them. This paper explores charity ranking, with a particular focus on the increasing role of impact and 'cost-effectiveness'. Ranking systems are composed of a selection of metrics, which may miss important components and, as a result, create a set of unintended outcomes. We argue that an emphasis on cost-effectiveness and impact in ranking promotes simple, technocratic activities, negatively affects human rights-based interventions and de-prioritises inventions that work in remote, complex settings. The topic of charity ranking and its influence on private donors is limited in the literature, and this paper seeks to make a contribution to this important debate.

The full article is gated. Abstract and further publication details available via the link above. If you would like a copy of the article, send me an email.

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