The role of anti-poverty organizations should be to strengthen local human networks of support, not replace them. Replacing human networks creates dependency; nurturing human networks creates interdependency.
Unbound employs a three-tier approach to measuring program effectiveness and outcomes for sponsored persons and their families. This framework reflects Unbound's commitment to personal relationships and outreach, while recognizing the value of evaluation for program development and the power of experience in a global organization.
As an international organization, we recognize the need to step back periodically and look at the big picture. Global evaluations explore questions of organizational outcomes for all program participants across borders and in every region. These broad investigations help tell our collective story and understand the effectiveness of our approach in key areas such as educational attainment, economic self-sufficiency, empowerment of mothers and community participation.
Regardless of region or program, what changes do we hope Unbound sponsored persons and their families will experience as a result of their participation in the program?
There are four primary areas where we focus our global evaluation efforts:
These domains are embedded within the Unbound program characteristics, such as capacity building, economic self-sufficiency, empowerment and mutual accountability and support. They serve as the primary focus for global evaluation efforts directed from Unbound and will be central in determining Unbound's impact on the world.
We have seen results in three of these domains at a global scale.
Work at the local program level is tailored to the needs of individual sponsored friends and the initiatives of their communities. Families work with program staff to define and measure outcomes and utilize the results for continuous program improvement. With training and technical support from Unbound's evaluation team, these locally directed evaluations ask questions like: What is the program accomplishing? How are families different now? What could we do better?
Specific program evaluations allow communities to adapt and grow in their specific context. And these evaluations collectively help fill the basket of evidence of Unbound’s impact around the world.See our Local Program results
Unbound’s individualized program and one-to-one sponsorship model allow us to understand and communicate outcomes not just at a global or community level, but on a very personal level. Regular letters written by children, youth and elders to their sponsors provide a unique and personal update on the specific impact of the program in their lives. Letters provide direct feedback about how the relationships and support make a difference. We encourage sponsors to look for and ask about the experiences and accomplishments presented in their sponsored friends' letters. Does she discuss how she is progressing in school? Does he mention his mother’s participation in a mothers’ group or how the benefits of the program are impacting his family?
We also understand, however, that some sponsored friends are not great at communicating outcomes. Some lean toward only communicating the good and some fill their letters with other important personal details and gratitude. For these reasons, we are growing in our ability to gather and communicate data on individual changes and impact, through individual participant records, educational benchmarks and exit surveys.
Unbound's leadership, including its Governing Board, is organized under the Carver Model. The Carver Model dictates that an independent Governing Board be responsible for:
Unbound's management provides monitoring reports which demonstrate progress toward the board’s stated outcomes. These are presented to the Governing Board at three board meetings each year.
Unbound maintains a full-time program evaluation staff who are active members of the American Evaluation Association and abide by the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators.
Unbound adheres to the standards of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, committed to increasing charitable giving and connecting donors to needs they care about.
Unbound is awarded 4 out of 4 stars by Charity Navigator, with the highest score of 100 in the area of accountability and transparency.
Unbound is the only child sponsorship organization to receive CharityWatch's highest rating, an A+.
Unbound receives the distinction of Top-Rated Nonprofit from Great Nonprofits, based on reviews from people who donate to, or benefit from, nonprofit organizations.
Unbound meets all 20 rigorous standards established by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
Unbound holds the Platinum GuideStar Nonprofit Profile Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar.