Charities are becoming more businesslike in their quest to address competitive pressures and funding reductions. However, this shift may have unintended consequences. For example, the best-marketed charities are not necessarily the ones with the greatest potential for social benefit. There is currently no mechanism that attempts to evaluate the social value of charities. Borrowing from social investing and corporate social responsibility literature, the authors argue that despite the difficulties inherent in this task, there are several issues that must be considered to assess a charity's social value, and each stakeholder will consider some dimensions of social value differently. Assessing a charity's social value has several ethical and policy implications, especially given the level of governmental and foundational support for charity organizations.
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