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The Dugan Research Award on Philanthropic Impact
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The Dugan Research Award on Philanthropic Impact



Charity Navigator and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action [ARNOVA] are offering an annual award, starting in 2017, to encourage innovative, foundational research on nonprofit impact measurement. The Dugan Research Award on Philanthropic Impact provides a $10,000 award to support new research investigating the creation of a methodology to capture, measure, quantify, and/or evaluate nonprofit programmatic and/or organizational impact.

The ideal proposal would:

1. Review and critique current existing literature and methodologies of impact measurement/evaluation


2. Propose a scalable methodology for measuring organizational or programmatic impact across the entire population of nonprofits or specific to a single cause area

One grant is made each year, assuming a worthy proposal is submitted. The award will not be granted for proposals seeking to evaluate existing nonprofit ratings methodologies and/or their impact on the sector; rather, the creation and development of new systems and approaches to impact measurement.

The award recipient will produce a working paper that can be made available on the Charity Navigator website or in other Charity Navigator publications when finished, and to present that paper at the ARNOVA Conference the year it is completed. The recipient will be expected to produce the final paper within 12 months of the announcement of the award.

It is requested (not required) that proposal submissions and final papers be open access in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License (CC by 4.0) or an equivalent license for publication. Opting-out will not preclude applicants from being selected for the 2018 award.


  • Proposals should not exceed 5 pages in length, single-spaced. The proposal should describe the concepts, issues or problem to be explored, and the theoretical framework for that exploration. The author may attach a summary of literature that their project will draw on and include a letter describing the author's background and experience and how that prepares them to undertake this research successfully. A brief budget may be submitted that shows how the awards funds will be used, but a budget is not necessary.
  • The proposal narrative should describe the character of and approach to the research to be pursued. If it involves data gathering and analysis, the proposal should describe data sources the project will use (or develop), and the methodologies to be employed in collection and analysis. It should explain the expected significance of this research and how it will advance a broader and deeper understanding of one or more of the important elements of philanthropy, nonprofits, voluntary action or civil society.
  • The proposer's Curriculum Vitae

The award recipient is required to attend the ARNOVA Awards Luncheon on Friday, November 16, 2018 at the Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas. They may also serve on a panel to present their award-winning research as part of a mini-plenary on the same day.

All proposals must be submitted electronically in a single PDF formatted file to assure their integrity. Word documents will not be considered.


Submission Open: February 15, 2018
Deadline: April 16, 2018
Awardee Notification: July 9, 2018
Award Announcement: September 12, 2018




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