Selection process

The good deeds are the calendar’s “chocolate”. The selection of sustainable, effective and, at the same time, transparent projects is one of the core tasks of our organisation. The selection process consists of three steps:

 

 1. Call for proposals and applications

 

 2. Research and preselection 

 

3. Project assessment and approval

       

 

1. Call for proposals and applications

In 2016 we received 127 applications.

Why a call for proposals?

Of course, we could simply take the initiative and pick the best out of a huge number of good aid projects. The call for proposals, on the other side, allows us to take a neutral approach and to get to know so many new, fantastic projects which we would not know about otherwise.

Whom do we address?

A good mix of larger, established and smaller, voluntary-based organisations that have a direct connection to their place of activity, are crucial for the calendar’s quality. Since we publish our call for proposals in different forums and mailing lists, we are able to address both target groups.

What information do we request?

Every application consists of two parts: First, general information about the applicant organisation and, second, information about the good deed and its conceptual framework. The online form has to be completed by every applicant and gives us a good insight into the organisations’ goals, their experience and professional qualities.

 2.  Research and preselection

In order to rank the different projects during the preselection stage, 24GoodDeeds has developed a set of criteria based on scientific studies. With the help of this ranking system we select the 32 projects—8 in every category (environment, health, nutrition and education)—with the highest scores. This preselection is then presented to the advisory board.

How do we assess the effectiveness and quality of the good deeds?

We asked ourselves this question too and decided to get professional help: the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a leading institution when it comes to impact analysis of aid projects. On the basis of randomised studies, J-PAL aims to demonstrate e.g. the most effective methods to reduce the prevalence of diarrhea among children with US$ 1000,- in a certain region (see graph).

Juliette Seban, J-PAL scientist and Professor for Randomised Evaluation at the Science Po University in Paris, helped us to develop conceptual guidelines for the evaluation of the good deeds. Randomised impact evaluations are very complex and of course we cannot carry out a study for each and every project. However, thanks to this cooperation we were able to understand how scientists identify impact-oriented thinking in organisations and how they finally assess the impact of projects. We could then transfer and include those criteria in our own set of criteria.

In concrete terms, we screened the different organisations for their ability to:

  • clearly identify their target group
  • identify the needs of their target group and carry out needs assessments
  • identify indicators that assess their medium and long-term success

Philipp Hoelscher from Phineo also helped us develop our selection criteria. Phineo gAG is a  German non-profit corporation with expertiese in the field of impact assessment. The organisation uses an impact chain that outlines different tasks, indicators and medium-/long-term objectives, as an analytical tool to assess aid organisations (see graph).

We ask all applicants to describe their project using the impact chain method (see table). Therewith we are able to see whether organisations choose clear performance indicators and whether their projects are embedded in a long-term strategy.

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How do we identify reliable and trustworthy organisations?

When assessing partner organisations we put our main focus on three topcis:

Finance and Transparency:

24GoodDeeds examines the organisations’ statutes as well as their detailed documentation on their application of funds. Ideally, the organisations can secure the financing of their projects in the long term through various resources. The organisations are also required to take into account the economic efficiency of their activities in the countries they are operating in, using local resources instead of disrupting markets with imported products.

The organisation’s structural sustainability:

The organisation’s work should be neutral, that is to say not manipulable by political dynamics. In addition it should have competent and experienced management personnel and  have a direct relation to its project sides. This also means engaging the local community in the implementation of the projects.

Guarantee of Quality:

Organisations have to be officially registered as non-profit organisations, foundations or as gGmbH to be part of the 24GoodDeeds calendar. A donation seal, commitment to transparency or any other official certification (e.g. the DZI donation seal, Phineo etc.), will positively influence the assessment. However, official seals are no requirement for admission into the calendar. Small organisations that mainly work on a voluntary basis are able to do a great job, even if they lack the resources to obtain certification. Sound second opinions, e.g. from online donation platforms, of embassies or the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI), help us to develop a differentiated opinion on the projects.

3. Assessment and Approval

Who has the last word concerning the 24 good deeds?

An advisory committee that is completely independent of the preselection process decides which projects will be featured in the calendar. This committee is composed of experts in international politics, development cooperation and project management. All 32 projects have to meet the committees expectations concerning scalability, feasibility, neutrality and relevance. At the end of this assessment our experts choose the 24GoodDeeds that our calendar will support.