There are three big reasons why assessing the results of charity is difficult. First, people do not want to criticize those wanting to help. Any assessment of charity can be very problematic because of the claim "at least I am trying to help". Secondly, it is very complicated, expensive, and dynamic to take a lengthy amount of time to see the long term results. Thirdly, everyone has very different ideas of successful help.
"At least I am trying to help."
Many neglect to assess someone else's attempt to help when they use donated money. Many people will not accept the report of others for this same reason. Unless the charity is doing obvious harm, wasting money, or using the money for their own benefit, it is rarely closely examined.
Not all charities are super efficient. They care a lot, however charities often do not invest the needed money to learn the family's situation and needs.
Complicated, Expensive, and Dynamic
The question of what type of help is needed sometimes seems obvious in that you feed the hungry, heal the sick, or shelter the homeless. The fact is that helping those in need is very complicated. Should you offer a fish, or teach someone how to fish? Everyone's needs are different. Some people are very slow to accept help, while others are very comfortable with it. A large part of the identity of a parent is how he/she supports his/her family.
How someone structures the help of these proud parents can make a world of difference. If the help comes with mandatory work, it gives a feeling of self gratification and achievement to the individual.
The complications are very numerous. The assessment can be very expensive because help is often assessed over long time periods and over many complicated family situations. Everyone and every family reacts differently to different situations.
For example one family receives help and the man is offered a good job and it looks like the help was very successful, while another family receives the same help and because of different family dynamics, the help can lead to even more dysfunction. The bottom line is that assessing the help is very complicated and dynamic.
Ideas of Success
Liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have very different ideas of not just how to help, but also what successful help looks like. Conservatives consider the greatest victory to be the highest numbers of people that no longer need help, while the left has the greatest value in the number of people they are giving thing to. Libertarians have several different thoughts on what is desired.
Ratings agencies working with Assessment Organizations will solve some of these issues. First, they will have an obligation to assess charity that will reduce the “at least I am trying to help” issue. Second, with mandated contributions to CDA's, citizens would have desire for that critical data in order to fund the highest rated CDA. Third, having many different rating agencies to look to and trust, one would have assessments that match their philosophy.