Introducing the Wolfhound Fund

Michael Princi and Rick Colosimo announce the founding of The Wolfhound Fund, a nonprofit entity, whose mission is to help nonprofits and their officers and directors with increasing the returns on the social capital invested in and by the organization. This ROSC measure corresponds to the use of ROIC for for-profit entities. In general, ROSC seeks to account for all the inputs of society to an organization, from donations to volunteer time to the federal tax shield, which are transformed by the organization into outputs including services, cost of services, and operating expenses in much the same way that ROIC describes how a for-profit company increases revenue, turns invested capital into revenue through capital efficiency, and turns revenue into operating profit through operating efficiency. It is our deep experience investigating and understanding this foundation, the operating performance of traditional companies, in hundreds of examples that has led us to the realization that similar performance metrics for nonprofit organizations would greatly enhance strategic review by nonprofit boards and improve transparency for donors.

The Wolfhound Fund will oversee the collection, creation, collaboration, and refinement of metrics for effectiveness and efficiency for nonprofit organizations, allowing entities to benchmark themselves against organizations pursuing similar strategies. For example, legal aid groups that represent the homeless in government benefits litigation should not be compared, from an operational prospective, against those groups that provide typical homeless shelter benefits. While donors and organizations may debate the relative merits of pursuing different strategies, our goal is to assist the management, the officers and directors, of these organizations assess how well they are executing their chosen strategy. In our personal and professional backgrounds, we have always presented our advice thoroughly grounded in the operational world, and that’s the level at which the Wolfhound Fund itself will operate.

As we’ve noted, we are building on the funding selection and program evaluation frameworks created by the Robin Hood Foundation, and we applaud them for making their decision and evaluation processes available.

To make as much of an impact as possible in the shortest time, we would like to launch using a wiki format, which would allow stakeholders to provide information on metrics and measurements as well as provide a forum for discussion as the information is reviewed. [As an aside, while our primary webhost finalizes its support for Mediawiki, we’re looking for a fairly priced private hosting solution that will allow us to host the wiki under the domain and migrate it if we choose to do so; recommendations are welcomed.] We’ll start scouring the universe of nonprofit resources to seed the discussions with strategy trees for the various issues as well as piecing together metrics for each strategy and disclosed measurements for nonprofits revealing such information.

We’re excited about this and hope that we can help spotlight those nonprofit entrepreneurs who are changing the world for the better by wringing every benefit out of every hour and every dollar.