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Joseph J. Cordes and Katherine Coventry

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Joseph J. Cordes and Katherine Coventry

The activities of nonprofit organizations are increasingly subject to performance evaluation. This chapter discusses the possibilities and limitations of using social benefit cost analysis as a framework for measuring nonprofit performance. Cost–benefit Analysis (CBA) and the closely related methodology of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) have become increasingly common means of evaluating the outcomes of a wide range of government regulations and public spending. Because there is considerable overlap between the outcomes that CBA is intended to measure and those that are the focus of a social return on investment (SROI) analysis, CBA offers a potentially useful framework for assessing non- profit performance. One pay-off from undertaking a CBA is that monetizing outcomes produces a single money metric that can facilitate comparisons among different program impacts. This feature of CBA, however, is also controversial, and both practical and conceptual objections have been raised to the monetization of nonprofit outcomes.