Interstitial Organizations as Conversational Bridges

Organizational life today is beset by demands for accountability: from health care and banking to humanitarian aid and higher education, there is a clamor to demonstrate and document effectiveness. This progressive rationalization has seen scientific practices of evaluation and managerial concepts of efficiency move into voluntary and charitable domains. The hesitant embrace of performance metrics in the U.S. nonprofit sector is an example of this recombination of practices.

Our maps reflect the presence of civic ideals, managerial concepts, and scientific assessments among 369 organizations actively involved in efforts at measuring social impact.

Drawing on a sample based on weblinks on the World Wide Web, we identify how organizations are positioned vis-à-vis these three discourses. The resulting map reflects the linguistic topography of nonprofit performance evaluation.